NYDA Social Media Advocate Toolkit
As New York’s nonprofit I/DD service sector continues to struggle with the impacts of chronic underfunding, rising inflation costs, and widespread staffing shortages, the need to secure long-term investment from the State Government has never been more urgent. Now is the time to make our voices heard and tell New York lawmakers that they must make the I/DD community a priority in the SFY 2024 One House Budgets.
NYDA’s message to lawmakers is this: New York’s I/DD community is depending on the State legislature to ensure the future viability of this crucial sector of New York’s care economy.
One way advocates like yourself can help amplify our message is by utilizing the power of social media to make our community’s voice heard.
We’ve outlined a few of the ways you can help spread the word through your own social media channels. This toolkit contains:
● Sample Social Media Posts
● Messaging Guidance and Talking Points
● Resources to identify Twitter and Facebook handles for target lawmakers in your district.
● Suggested Hashtags
How To Take Action:
The first step for taking action is to follow @nydisabilityadvocates on Facebook and @nydisabilityadv on Twitter.
As NYDA posts on Facebook and Twitter, you can help amplify our message by re-tweeting and sharing our content to your personal or organization’s social media pages. Below are just a few examples of posts we have shared urging lawmakers to invest in the I/DD community — we encourage you to like, comment, share, re-tweet and post your own messages that tag elected officials in your district!
To identify your elected officials in the Senate and Assembly, visit the New York State Board of Elections Website and enter your zip code!Once you’ve identified your lawmakers, you can access find Twitter handles using this Google spreadsheet.
● Example 1:
- New York’s I/DD community is facing a crisis. The time is NOW for [@your elected officials] to take action and include desperately-needed funding for the I/DD service sector in the SFY 2024 One House Budgets. #IDDPriority #CareCantWait
● Example 2:
- DSPs are highly trained and skilled professionals that provide essential support & services to 130,000+ New Yorkers with I/DD. Their #NewYorkDream is to continue to do this essential work without relying on just above minimum wage to support themselves & their families. [@your elected officials] raise DSP wages NOW and make the I/DD service sector a priority in this year’s One House Budgets #IDDPriority #CareCantWait
● Example 3:
- With high staff turnover costing nonprofit provider agencies $100.5M per year, New York’s I/DD community is in crisis. [@your elected officials] we’re counting on you to take action & include much-needed investments for the I/DD service sector in the upcoming One House Budgets #IDDPriority #CareCantWait
● Example 4:
- With rising costs of inflation, operational costs for nonprofit I/DD provider agencies are skyrocketing. [@your elected officials] MUST include an 8.5% COLA increase in this year’s One House Budgets to ensure the future viability of the I/DD service system because #carecantwait. #IDDPriority
● Example 5:
- We cannot achieve the #NewYorkDream if we don’t ensure fair wages for essential work. Tell [@your elected officials]: NOW is the time to raise DSP wages by including a DSWE in the One House Budgets. New York’s I/DD community depends on it. #IDDPriority #CareCantWait
Make Your Voice Heard!
In addition to calling attention to the issues facing the I/DD community and advocating for much-needed policy solutions, we are also calling on advocates like you to share your own story and call on your elected officials. When you see a post that contains a call to action (CTA) from fellow Facebook and Twitter users, we encourage you to offer your perspective by commenting and re-posting/quote-tweeting with a personal anecdote. Examples of posts that contain a CTA are below:
● Example 1:
- Tell New York Lawmakers: How would an 8.5% COLA for non-profit I/DD provider agencies change daily life for you and your family? Comment or quote tweet and share your story! #IDDPriority #CareCantWait
● Example 2:
- Tell New York Lawmakers: What does achieving the #NewYorkDream mean to you? #IDDPriority #CareCantWait
● Example 3:
- Direct Support Professionals provide invaluable support and services to New Yorkers with I/DD and serve as integral pillars of our community. Help us tell New York Lawmakers about the incredible work they do every day by sharing a story about how DSPs have made a difference in your life!
NYDA will also be encouraging social media users to write letters to their New York lawmakers urging them to invest in the I/DD service sector. These posts will contain a one-click link where you can access pre-made letter templates and send your letter directly to your elected official through an online portal. Don’t forget to send one yourself! Examples of letter-writing posts are below:
● Example 1:
- DSPs deserve fair wages for their essential work. If you agree, click the link to urge your elected officials to take action: https://cpstate.org/advocacy/
● Example 2:
- Calling all New York I/DD Advocates! Click the link to send a letter to your lawmaker urging them to prioritize the I/DD community in the upcoming Executive Budget: https://p2a.co/e5sta1V
Lastly, you can take action by posting content about the crisis facing the I/DD service sector on your own Facebook and Twitter pages. This content should offer your unique perspective on the issues we’re working to amplify while utilizing your choice of the following talking points. Also, don’t forget to tag your elected officials! Visit the NYSOB Website to identify Senate and Assembly members in your district and use this spreadsheet to identify their Twitter handles.
● We cannot achieve the New York Dream if individuals with I/DD cannot access the supports & services they need to thrive. ● Low wages for DSPs are causing a workforce shortage that is jeopardizing the health and well-being of more than 130,000 New Yorkers with I/DD. ● With rising costs of inflation, coupled with the decades-long workforce crisis and chronic underfunding, the operational costs for non-profit I/DD provider agencies have drastically outpaced the funding the I/DD service sector needs to care for New Yorkers with I/DD. ● 85% of individuals with I/DD in New York are supported by non-profit providers, which receive 90% of their funding from New York State. ● High turnover rates for DSPs are costing non-profit provider agencies $100.5M annually. ● There are currently 19,788 vacant direct care positions in New York State that need to be filled by the non-profit sector. ● DSPs are integral pillars of the I/DD community and provide vital supports and services to New Yorkers with I/DD, yet they receive just above minimum wage for their essential work. ● Tell [assembly member] and [state senator] to include much-needed investments in the I/DD service sector in the SFY 2024 One House Budgets:
● We must raise DSP wages to ensure non-profit agencies can recruit and retain staff. A Direct Support Wage Enhancement (DSWE) would give provider agencies $4,000 per eligible employee to be used to increase the hourly rate of compensation by $2.19 an hour for all personnel who have direct care/support duties for individuals with I/DD.
● We cannot achieve the New York Dream if individuals with I/DD cannot access the supports & services they need to thrive.
● Low wages for DSPs are causing a workforce shortage that is jeopardizing the health and well-being of more than 130,000 New Yorkers with I/DD.
● With rising costs of inflation, coupled with the decades-long workforce crisis and chronic underfunding, the operational costs for non-profit I/DD provider agencies have drastically outpaced the funding the I/DD service sector needs to care for New Yorkers with I/DD.
● 85% of individuals with I/DD in New York are supported by non-profit providers, which receive 90% of their funding from New York State.
● High turnover rates for DSPs are costing non-profit provider agencies $100.5M annually.
● There are currently 19,788 vacant direct care positions in New York State that need to be filled by the non-profit sector.
● DSPs are integral pillars of the I/DD community and provide vital supports and services to New Yorkers with I/DD, yet they receive just above minimum wage for their essential work.
● Tell [assembly member] and [state senator] to include much-needed investments in the I/DD service sector in the SFY 2024 One House Budgets:
- ● With rising costs of inflation, operational costs for nonprofit I/DD provider agencies are skyrocketing. An 8.5% cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase is therefore needed to ensure non-profit providers can cover the costs of essential supports and services for New Yorkers with I/DD.
● For additional talking points and information on NYDA’s legislative priorities, visithttps://nydisabilityadvocates.com/2023-legislative-priorities/
For DSPs and other direct support staff, an example post may look like:
- ●Facebook: As a direct support professional, my #NewYorkDream is to be able to ensure my clients and their families have the support they need to live their best lives without worrying about how I’m going to make ends meet to care for my own family. [@your elected official] we deserve fair pay for our essential work. On behalf of DSPs across New York, we urge you to include a Direct Support Wage Enhancement for direct support staff in the SFY 2024 Executive Budget! #IDDPriority
- ●Twitter: As a DSP, I’ve seen too many of my co-workers quit for higher-paying retail/service jobs. They loved those they cared for but had to be able to feed their own families. [@your elected official] raise DSP wages NOW & include a DSWE in the upcoming budget! #IDDPriority
For provider agencies and agency employees, an example post may look like:
Facebook: As [job title] at [agency], I am tired of having to tell New Yorkers with I/DD that they will no longer be able to attend the group programs they’ve always relied on to socialize with their peers because we don’t have the funding to continue running them. I am tired of having to tell parents that we cannot match them with a direct support professional to help ensure their children are safe and cared for while they’re at work because we can’t recruit and retain staff. [@your elected official] please put an end to this crisis. NOW is the time to take action and invest in the I/DD service sector in this year’s budget. #IDDPriority
Twitter: [@your elected official] I am tired of having to tell NYers with I/DD that we don’t have the resources to meet their needs. Our community deserves better. It’s time to take action & invest in the I/DD service sector in this year’s budget. #IDDPriority
For self-advocates and family members, an example post might look like:
Facebook: As a parent to a child with I/DD, my #NewYorkDream is not having to worry about whether or not my son will be safe and cared for as I get older because I can rely on nonprofit providers to have the resources required to meet his needs if I ever can’t. [@your elected official] you can help make this dream a reality for my family and the thousands more in the I/DD community by including permanent investments for the I/DD service sector in this year’s one house budgets. #IDDPriority
Twitter: My DSP helps me feel safe & supported when we do activities together in my community. She is an essential worker and she deserves fair pay. [@your elected official] it’s time to raise wages for DSPs & invest in our community in this year’s executive budget! #IDDPriority
Share a Video That Tells Your Story!
Short testimonial videos are one of the most effective ways you can tell your story. In addition to written posts, we encourage you to share a short video addressed to lawmakers that tells them them why investments in the I/DD service sector are important to you and what our community needs to overcome this decades-long workforce crisis using the talking points above.
If you’re not sure what to say, use the following prompts to guide your testimonial video:
- ● What is your name and where are you from?
- ● How has the lack of investment in the I/DD services sector by New York State over the last decade impacted you and your family?
- ● [Non-DSP] How long have you or your family been working with DSPs and in what capacity?
- ● [Non-DSP] What role do DSPs play in your life?
- ● [Non-DSP] What is the most memorable moment you shared with a DSP?
- ● [Non-DSP] How has the shortage of DSPs in New York impacted you and your family?
- ● [DSP] What does an average workday look like for you, and what are your core responsibilities as a DSP?
- ● [DSP] What is your favorite thing about your job as a DSP?
- ● [DSP] What is the most challenging part of your job as a DSP?
- ● What does a 5.4% COLA increase for provider agencies mean for you and how will this investment impact everyday life for you and your family?
- ● What more needs to be done to ensure that New Yorkers with I/DD have the support and resources they need to live their best lives?
Testimonial Video Best Practices
- ● Before shooting the video, it’s helpful to write out what you want to say and practice.
- ● We want to hear your personal story, and it’s encouraged to highlight how years of underinvestment resulting in a workforce crisis has impacted you, how the new 8.5% COLA and DSWE will help, along with any hopes/concerns you have for the future. Feel free to review the talking points below for reference.
- ● We recommend keeping your video to no more than a minute in length.
- ● Choose a location to shoot the video ahead of time.
- ● A quiet space, with little to no background noise or echoes—clear sound is more important than having the best video quality. Avoid shooting outside if it’s windy.
- ● A space that is well-lit, making sure that there are no shadows hitting your face.
- ● A space without clutter in the background.
- ● Make sure your camera’s lens is clean.
- ● Be sure to hold the phone horizontally, not vertically before recording. This will allow for our design teams to better compile and edit the video.
- ● Position yourself so that the main light source is in front of you, such as facing a window.
- ● Position the camera at eye level and shoot your video from the chest up, leaving a little bit of room between your head and the top of the screen.
Once you’ve filmed your video, just upload and share it to Facebook and Twitter and tag your lawmakers and the New York Disability Advocates!
When you are sharing your own Twitter and Facebook posts, we ask that you also:
- ● Include the hashtag #IDDPriority
- ○ Optional: #NewYorkDream #CareCantWait
- ● Tag @nydisabilityadvocates and @Governor Kathy Hochul on Facebook
- ● Tag @nydisabilityadv and @GovKathyHochul on Twitter
- ○ Optional: Tag additional policy-makers, government staffers, and key decision makers
- ■ Kerri Neifeld (@keneifeld)
- ■ Michah Lasher (@micahlasher)
- ■ Kathryn Garcia (@KGforNYC)
- ■ Jihoon Kim (@jihoonie)
- ■ Karen Persichilli Keogh (@kp224)
- ■ NY Office of Persons With Developmental Disabilities (@NYSOPWDD)
- ■ New York State Division of the Budget (@NYS_DOB)
Optional graphics to accompany your posts are available for download HERE. We thank you for your continued support and advocacy on behalf of the I/DD Community and hope that you join us on social media to make some noise together! If you have any questions about taking action on social media, please reach out to email@example.com.