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 Advocacy thru Community Relations 
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Advocacy thru Community Relations

By April Quinn, NFA Senior Director of Education and Community Relations

Community relations is an important tool and can provide many benefits for your support group and the fibromyalgia community, when used as a part of your overall outreach and advocacy plan. Through community relations you can build partnerships that will assist you in reaching a larger audience, provide resources and support for outreach activities, and create new educational programs, among other things.

Most importantly, it can assist you in establishing your group as the go-to-resource on fibromyalgia in your community. Below is an overview of community relations from Purdue Pharma’s “In the Face of Pain Tool Kit,” directed at pain advocates in various disciplines acting on behalf of those suffering with chronic pain illnesses, including fibromyalgia. The Tool Kit, has been used as the basis for NFA’s annual Leaders Against Pain media and advocacy training seminars.

Basics of Community Relations

Be an active part of the community! Becoming an active member in your community is the best way to network among leaders and activists to raise awareness of pain management issues.

Obtain contact information for local chapters of civic and, if appropriate, faith-based organizations. This first step will enable you to organize your local resources.

Know your organization. Doing your homework on an organization is crucial before you contact it. Visit the group’s web site or call for background information and/or an annual report.

Investigate the internal power structure of the organization. In the realm of civic organizations, it really is “who you know.” At some organizations, a planning director is the person who makes final recommendations on programs and grant proposals before passing them along to the CEO. If you want a program approved, this is the person to whom you need to reach out.

Determine how the group fits into the community. It is important to note that these organizations’ influence differs from community to community; community relations is not “one size fits all.” Depending on the location, a faith-based organization may serve the interests of a rural community, while a Chamber of Commerce or leadership organization may have a broader reach in a suburban area.

Understand the organization’s calendar. Be aware of budget and programming cycles and observe their deadlines.

Tailor your outreach to the mission of the group. Think about why the organization’s members will want to hear about specific pain management issues before you approach them. Similar to tailoring your messages to media and government audiences, each organization reaches out to a specific segment of the community that will care about pain management for different reasons.

Create a plan for approaching the organizations. The worksheet provided at the end of this chapter (contact April Quinn at for worksheet) will help you make sure that you have the basics covered before reaching out to your community organizations.

What is 501(c)(3)? – This is a section of the Internal Revenue Code that designates an organization as charitable and tax exempt. Organizations qualifying under this section include religious, educational, charitable, amateur athletic, scientific or literary groups, organizations testing for public safety, or organizations involved in the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. NOTE: The tax code sets forth a list of sections – 501(c) (4-26) – to identify other nonprofit organizations whose function is not solely charitable.

For more information on the “In the Face of Pain Tool Kit,” contact Purdue Pharma at their office at One Stamford * Stamford, CT 0601-3431*203/ 588-8000.

Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:39 pm
Hi Sue,

Thanks for putting this on the boards. This information will be big help for me. See you around the boards and in chat. Thanks for all the articles you find and post for our continued education of this darn disease and who's doing what. :hug

Bonnie ;)

Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:44 pm
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