Planning to Do Important Work
A community-focused approach is essential for a Streamlined League. This section provides planning tools, event and activities resources, and guidance for local Leagues doing important work in their communities.
The mission of the League of Women Voters is to promote informed citizen participation in government and to influence public policy through education and advocacy. As part of a multi-issue organization that addresses public concerns at every level of government, each League has a wide range, (a veritable banquet or feast) of topics to choose from in deciding how to pursue this mission in its own community.
Assessing what the key community issues are and how your League will engage on these issues is essential. Leagues can enhance their effectiveness by selecting issues that the people in their communities see as affecting them directly—issues that citizens consider to be truly vital to the public interest and where citizens believe they can bring about positive change. Ask yourselves what public concerns are of the most interest to your community:
- What issues do people in your community make time for—by attending meetings, by volunteering, by taking action, by writing letters to the editor of your local paper?
- What issues are of special concern to other groups in the community?
- What issues would interest and involve new members?
Leagues have a range of options available to them in deciding how best to address an issue of public concern. Each approach—community collaboration, citizen education, action, or study—can be a valid and effective means of pursuing the League’s mission. The set of circumstances surrounding each issue—complexity of the subject, timeframe for action, needs of the community, goals of your League, resources available—helps determine the most appropriate method to use in working on that issue.
To engage both members and other citizens in playing a more active role in addressing public concerns, Leagues must provide opportunities to have a real impact on a problem. To respond effectively to the challenges facing our communities, Leagues must ensure that all interest groups have a chance to participate in the problem-solving process.
For help determining the key issues in your community, see “Selecting Issues of Concern to Your Community” and a “Planning Worksheet” provided in Appendix A.