Resource Details

Public Policy Checklist for Coalition Directors

by Gail Burns Smith

Gail was the former Executive Director of the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services Inc. and the co-founder of the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence

This checklist was written by the author for the RSP Executive Director Manual


1. I understand our state’s definition of lobbying/ public policy advocacy both for administrative and legislative policy work.

2. I know the statutory, regulatory or state grant requirements regarding lobbying in my state.

  • registration requirements
  • reporting requirements
  • limitations for gift giving
  • other activities

3. I understand the restrictions on utilizing state funds for lobbying/ public policy advocacy.

4. I understand the federal definition of lobbying/public policy advocacy for administrative and legislative policy work.

5. I know the statutory, regulatory and or federal grant requirements regarding lobbying on the federal level.

  • registration requirements
  • reporting requirements
  • limitations for gift giving
  • other activities/restrictions

6. I understand the restrictions on utilizing federal funds for lobbying/public policy advocacy.

7. I understand the IRS restrictions for 501(c) 3 organizations.

8. I understand the reporting requirements specific to 501(c) 3 organizations regarding lobbying activities including election of 501(h).

9. Our coalition board of directors understands the issues outlined in #1-8 and have received training on their responsibilities in this area.

10. Our coalition has established a Public Policy Committee to guide our work in this arena.

11. Our Public Policy Committee has been trained on the issues outlined in #1-8 above.

12. Our coalition has made a decision regarding

  • how the coalition will identify public policy issues
  • how we will prioritize those issues
  • how we will decide which of those issues will be on our legislative agenda
  • how we will ensure that our agenda is victim-centered and philosophically matched with our mission and core values
  • how we will communicate our legislative agenda to board members, member agencies, other constituents
  • how we will fund these activities
  • who will have the responsibility to carry out that agenda
  • who will have decision making power to respond to changes or amendments to that agenda

13. Our coalition has put together a grassroots group who are ready and able to respond to alerts.

14. Our coalition has worked to ensure that the grassroots group

  • understands the legislative agenda
  • has the tools ( fact sheets etc.) to utilize with the agenda
  • has the information regarding:
  • who their senators and representatives are at the state level
  • who their senators and representatives are at the federal level
  • know how to reach their senators and representatives
  • have role played presenting an issue and making a call or visit
  • have a phone tree in place to expand the number of grassroots callers
  • understand that they can refer questions back to the coalition office
  • have tools for easy reporting back to the public policy committee

15. Our coalition has developed a media plan to use in conjunction with our public policy agenda.

16. Our coalition has made a decision about the use of an outside public policy specialist and has determined when and how such an expert will be used.

17. Public policy advocacy is a part of our coalition’s strategic plan.

18. I have the resources available to better understand public policy advocacy.