How Can United Ways and Out-Of-School Time Coalition Partners Make an Effective Case for OST?


  • Maintain a focus on quality, as it is much easier to make the case for effective programs (For more on this, see “Out-of-School Time Program Quality”).
  • Use local data documenting the positive impact of high-quality out-of-school time programs (For more on this, see “Using Data to Support and Strengthen Out-of-School Time Initiatives”) .
  • Vary your message (i.e. which points you emphasize) based on the audience you are trying to persuade — what issues do they care most about? How does this connect out-of-school time?
  • the messenger — young people themselves are often the best advocates for out-of-school time. Parents can also make compelling advocates. Work with your partners to identify and cultivate youth and parents that can play this role.
  • Develop and use your out-of-school time coalition partners to advocate. Is there an advocacy organization in your coalition that should primarily assume this role? Are there coalition members with important relationships and public credibility that can be tapped for this purpose?
  • Work with your out-of-school time coalition partners to develop an advocacy plan that includes your strategies; identifies key organizations, institutions and individuals you will reach out to; defines your timeframe for implementation; and defines roles and responsibilities for specific partners.
  • Cultivate local providers as out-of-school time champions. Nominate them as Afterschool Ambassadors — for more information on this, visit the Afterschool Alliance’s website:
  • Plan and convene a Lights On Afterschool event every year in October. Leverage this day’s national focus on out-of-school time to draw attention to your community’s efforts. Find tools and resources to do this at: