The Government Affairs Committee offers the following tips for lobbying.
Lobbying in an Effective Manner
- Introduce yourself to the elected official or staff – if you are a constituent, make that known.
- Do not be disappointed if you are only able to meet with staff. Schedules are in constant flux during the legislative session. Staff can be an ally and are best positioned to advocate your position with their member. Ask the staff member for their business card—if they do not offer one.
- Bring a one page handout/supporting documentation that can be left in each office.
- Make clear and concise points – be prepared to expound on these points if requested. Cite specific examples that will make a strong case for your issue.
- Do not interrupt or talk over members of your group or the legislator.
- You should be able to convey your message in under 15 minutes. Identify the issue and explain how the legislator can be helpful. Stay on message and you will be surprised by just how much you can fit in to the session.
- It is also important to have an understanding of both sides of the issue on which you are lobbying the elected official or their staff.
- Do not be afraid to ask for their position on your issue. However, do not become confrontational if they do not have a response. Instead ask them to get back to you on their position.
- Remember, you are there to educate, advocate and be a resource. If done properly and effectively, the legislator and their staff will rely on you for input in the future.
- Always thank the legislator/staff for their time regardless of the outcome of the meeting.
- Follow-up with a thank you letter to the legislator and/or staff and an offer to be of assistance in the future.