The mission of VCDR is to advance the human and civil rights of people with disabilities to ensure full and equal participation in all aspects of community life and the political process.



Establish an Advocacy Network

The creation of a communication network (or tree) is an important part of your preparation for effective advocacy. Setting up a network in advance will allow multiple members of your group to respond quickly as "hot issues" arise, which is often a necessity during the legislative session.

A telephone, e-mail, or fax tree is a method of getting critical information about an issue to advocates in order to let elected officials know how advocates feel about an issue. It is most effective when issues are so time sensitive that a (snail) mail alert would not allow sufficient time to take action. When used effectively, it will yield a larger number of responses from grass roots advocates, consumers, and others.

There should be one or two people identified in advance who are responsible for activating your group's network. They will need to determine what mode of response is the best fit for the situation. Telephone trees are often highly effective and the first choice of grassroots advocates. People find them user-friendly and participation does not require access to a computer or fax.

However, telephone trees are not as effective when an issue is too complex to be addressed in a brief, concise message, or when the number of elected officials to be contacted requires a large commitment of the advocate's time. You will need alternate ways to respond in those cases: email, fax, or through the "Write a Letter" page on our website that allows you to send multiple messages while incorporating suggested "talking points."

Below are directions for establishing your group's telephone tree. We will be adding suggestions for mobilizing email networks and using the interactive areas of our website shortly.

Creating a Telephone Tree: If possible, set it up so no one needs to make a toll call. Leaders identify issues, prepare the alert message, and put the alert in motion by placing the first call. Members of the tree receive the message, write it down precisely, then pass it on to the next member. The last person in line calls the leader who started the alert, and passes the message back precisely as it was received. After each member passes the alert along, he or she calls the elected official with the message.


Contact VCDR

To Contact VCDR by mail:
11 East State St., Suite 2
Montpelier, VT 05602

VCDR can be contacted by phone via VCIL at:
Phone: 1-800-639-1522