Advocacy Action Center
Everything you need to be an effective advocate for the health club industry as a whole, and your business in particular.
Club Operators Make the Best Industry Advocates
As a voter you are the most powerful person calling, writing, or visiting your legislators' offices, simply because your vote at election time can reward them for a job well done or send them packing. Through your work and passion as a fitness professional, you help increase regular exercise, provide a healthy environment for your community to work on their wellness goals, and help Americans live healthier lives. You have a powerful story to tell and now is the time to spread the word about your industry's critical role in promoting public health.
Download IHRSA’s Advocacy Toolkit
This toolkit provides valuable resources to help you protect and promote your the best interests of your business. The toolkit will:
- Educate you on the issues that matter most to your business.
- Encourage active involvement in the legislative process.
- Help you become a more confident advocate for your business and your community.
Identify Your Legislators: Use IHRSA's Elected Official Directory for the phone number or address for your elected officials.
Information and Resources
Tips for Contacting Representatives
Whether writing a note to your state representative, a letter to the editor of your local paper or speaking face to face with legislators or staff, there are certain messaging tips to keep in mind:
- Know the issues and do your research. IHRSA's public policy and research departments have a wealth of information, facts and figures that can help strengthen your argument.
- Establish one, key strategic message that you want to communicate. You can only ask for so much of your audience’s attention. Pick the most important issue and stick to it.
- Know your audience. If you’re looking to publish something in your local paper, try to tie your message to a recent story it published. If writing to an elected official, find out what issues they care about and address one.
- Tell a story. Our industry produces a lot of powerful human-interest stories. Your club helps people live healthier, happier lives. Share some of these compelling success stories.
- Be respectful. Even if a legislator has taken a position that is not in the industry’s best interests, personal attacks, cursing, airing your grievances on social media, and CAPS LOCK only obscure your message (or give the audience a reason to completely ignore it).
- Review your written communications. IHRSA can help here too. The public policy team is happy to look over any communication you plan to send and help you deliver it to its target audience.
- Connect with other clubs. In advocacy, the strength of a message is almost directly proportional to the number of people delivering it. Connect with other health clubs in your area to ensure your voice is heard.
- Share your message on social media. When there is an ongoing issue that matters to your club, spread the word on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to reach more viewers and draw attention to why these issues matter to your business.
Meeting face-to-face with a legislator is one of the most influential ways to guarantee that your voice and opinions are heard. It can be intimidating, but it is the most direct and effective approach. Below are some tips to ensure your meeting runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Always remember to:
- Learn the issues – An educated advocate is the best advocate. Know exactly what you want to ask your legislator(s) before you speak.
- Be factual – Show how a proposed law will impact your club if it is implemented. Use personal stories from club members or employees that demonstrate this.
- Be clear and concise – Speak to one issue at a time unless they are on the same general topic, such as different health promotion campaigns.
- State that you are a constituent – Indicate to the person with whom you are speaking with that you live in the same district or are employed by a health club there.
- Say you are an IHRSA member – Inform your legislator that you are speaking on behalf of a unified voice, as a member of the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the association for the global health club and fitness industry.
- Act promptly – It is important to take action as soon as you are able. Issues can move very quickly, especially at the state level. If you delay, the opportunity could vanish.