by Marybeth Fede and Carol Ciotto
NAHPL Eastern Seaboard
Lobbying: a political term for providing information & educating officials.
When advocating for a particular cause, know what the problem is, and ways to solve it. Understand who the stakeholders are and educate legislators and key stakeholders on the importance of the cause by providing relevant information to the cause.
o Provides access to government legislators.
o Acts as an educational tool.
o Allows individual interests to gain power in numbers.
When to Lobby:
o To make change.
o Immediately before or after an election.
o Prior to/when officials are in session (long/short sessions).
How to Lobby:
- Determine focus/cause:
o Is there a bill/policy that interests/impacts you or organization?
o Is there a need to educate legislators?
o What are the benefits and/or consequences of the policy/legislation?
- Contact Legislators
o Find your legislators – Visit https://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
o Provide lead time to accommodate participants – schedule appointments 1 month prior to Advocacy Day by calling or emailing legislative aide and confirm 1 week before. (In-person meetings are most effective way to lobby)
o Meeting with legislative aides can be as effective as meeting with legislators. and can be a great advocate for you.
- Prepare for the Meeting(s)
o Research your legislator:
o Know where they stand on the issue or similar issues.
o Know what committees they are on/positions they hold
o Know the basics about the bill
o Prepare “Leave Behind” for legislators- include important information/facts to gain support of the “Ask”
- Conduct the Meeting
o Be on time!
o Introduce yourself:
o Tell them where you are from.
o Thank them for taking the time to meet with you.
If by yourself:
o Be brief and to the point.
o Have a list of talking points (do not read directly from it).
o Use a personal story to make your stance human and to show the real world impact of the legislation.
o Be prepared to answer questions. If you don’t know, tell them you’ll get back to them and follow through.
If in a group:
o Each person should have a specific role/talking point when you meet with your legislator.
o People can have multiple roles, but it is important for everyone to know their role ahead of time.
- Follow up After Meeting:
o Send a thank-you email to legislator(s)/aid you met with.
o Follow up with any additional information needed.
o Keep in touch with any new information and/or additional issues or “Asks”
The information above can be used for in-person or virtual meetings.
Make Your Voice Heard