Give Your Grassroots Advocates a Public Voice

Set up a blog for your legislative advocates to share their experience in meeting with lawmakers and to showcase your organization's cause.

What's the great idea? Set up a blog for your legislative advocates to share their experience in meeting with lawmakers and to showcase your organization's cause.

Who's doing it? The National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions

What's involved? Nominated by one of NACHRI's member hospitals, 12-year-old Kimmi Desir, a survivor of a bone-marrow transplant to cure sickle cell anemia, blogged about her trip to Washington, DC, on NACHRI's Family Advocacy Day last June. In her own words, Desir wrote about meeting with members of Congress to promote funding for children's hospitals and health insurance. NACHRI staff set up the blog on Typepad and edited Desir's posts only for grammar and formatting. They also assisted in posting photos of Desir during her visits with lawmakers. Centered solely on the advocacy day, Desir's posts spanned just two weeks, though the blog remains online at http://childrenshospitals.typepad.com/fad2007.

What are people saying? "Since this was the first time we tried a blog with a patient, I think it really did impact the press coverage we got, and it gave us a bit of hook," says Natalie Webster, associate director of communications and the web at NACHRI. "It allowed her to talk about her experience her own words in a way that patients don't have normally." The blog received 3,500 visits after the advocacy day, and the organization's efforts made headlines in a variety of news outlets, ranging from ABCNews.com to Desir's hometown newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch.