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Tools for Winning State Appropriation Campaigns - Spring 2024 Featured Image

Tools for Winning State Appropriation Campaigns - Spring 2024

Even during the most politically polarizing times, people across ideologies agree that all children deserve a great start. The National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers, an organization dedicated to building an inclusive prenatal to three (PN3) advocacy movement, is ready to ensure that our shared values are reflected in state budgets from coast to coast.

Doing more for infants and toddlers helps all of us.

This toolkit will prepare advocates for the budget battles ahead with insights from lawmakers, staffers, lobbyists, and advocates, and tools for building political persuasion, pressure, and power for the PN-3 movement.

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The WHY of Appropriations Advocacy Campaigns

Long-term focused investments are needed for every expectant parent, infant, toddler, and caregiver to experience great health and well-being. Proper nutrition, quality health care, safe and stable homes, skilled early care and education, and financial security for families are all essential conditions for the health, development, and well-being of children aged prenatal to three (PN-3). These conditions can and should be supported by public systems funded by taxpayer dollars. The good news is that robust public investments in the PN-3 population are a win-win for families and taxpayers.

While many advocacy tools focus on making laws, few emphasize the power of the budget process to improve families' circumstances through strategic funding. This toolkit gives advocates a deeper understanding of the appropriations process and practical ways to make budgets work for babies!

“If it is true that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link,
isn't it also true a society is only as healthy as its sickest citizen and only as wealthy as its most deprived?”

Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome

Appropriations campaigns can be tough. Advocates are challenged to prove return on investment (ROI); competing against other issues; and, fluctuating state funds can mean fewer public dollars available when needs are the greatest. Deciphering a state budget requires patience, math, a policy analyst, and a good lobbyist. It is not unusual for state budgets to include policies that fail through normal legislative processes. When legislatures are working to pass a budget, these so-called ‘poison pills’ can make their way into state budgets, limiting or diverting the intended impact of the funding through earmarks or by including policy measures that preempt local authority. Even when advocates successfully secure the appropriation they need, the fight usually begins anew each budget cycle. This reality can wear down grassroots advocates and coalitions who must ask for the same thing year after year.

In this toolkit you will find (click on a topic to download the specific section):

Influencing the Inside Game

Demonstrating People Power

Additional Resources

Download Full Toolkit

NCIT Free Consultation Form

NCIT is here to support your advocacy campaign in a variety of ways to help you plan and execute your campaign. We’re eager to hear your feedback on this toolkit. What other resources would you like to see? Are there other resources you’d like to share with us? Connect with us here through NCIT’s TA portal to begin a discussion about how we can best support your advocacy.

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