What Does it Mean to Advocate?

It’s standing up for what you believe in, championing a cause, speaking out, taking a stand. LIVING UNITED means finding your voice on the issues that are important to you.

Advocacy in action at the 2012 campaign kickoff food drive

City of Portland mayor Michael Brennan surrounded by fellow advocates at the 2012 “Can Hunger” food drive.

Whether you’re speaking out to improve education, income and health, telling your representative what you think, or using social media to spread the word about an issue you care about, you can help inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow.

Improving education, income, and health sometimes requires changes in public policy. LIVE UNITED is not about politics, it’s about understanding the complex issues that face our communities, our state, and our nation, and coming together to solve them.

8 Ways You Can Advocate and LIVE UNITED

  1. Talk to friends and family about improving people’s lives and mobilizing the caring power of your community, and share your knowledge about issues that are important to you.
  2. Make some noise. If you’re passionate about education, financial stability, and health issues in our community, write a letter to the editor, comment on a blog, or tell us about it at
  3. Invite a United Way speaker to your workplace or social club. They’ll share examples of how United Way is advancing the common good for people in our communities. Email us for more information.
  4. Share information about the services provided by 2-1-1 Maine.
  5. Learn more about United Way’s work and positions on policies that impact our community.
  6. Volunteer! Whether it’s reading to children or delivering donated food items to your local food pantry, there are lots of volunteer needs out there.
  7. Connect. Join a neighborhood association or simply introduce yourself to a neighbor you haven’t met.
  8. One of the most powerful ways to advocate is to contact elected officials and tell them that you care about public policy decisions that directly impact your community. Here’s how:
    • Find your elected officials  (enter your address and click on the Elected Official tab).
    • Learn about United Way’s policy efforts and positions.
    • Pick up the phone or write a note, on paper or via email. Form letters can be great inspiration, but making it personal helps your legislator hear your voice.

Your Voice Matters!

Public policy is a critical component of achieving meaningful community impact, and is an expression of the priorities we have as a community. We hope that this video with Dan Coyne, our fearless (yet extraordinarily diplomatic) Director of Public Policy, inspires you to get involved.