Plan a Successful Lobby Day
Tips for Effective Lobbying
Prior to a legislative visit:
- Learn legislators' committee assignments and where their specialties lie as well as general biographical information which is usually available on their Web page.
- Determine legislators’ leadership roles within the legislature and their party caucuses.
- Develop relationships with your legislators and their staff.
- Provide legislators and staff with preliminary information.
During a legislative visit:
- Introduce yourself.
- Start on a positive note by finding some common ground. For example, if your legislators recently voted in support of an ACS issue, thank them.
- Clearly describe the issue and the Colon Cancer Alliance’s position. This is key if your meeting is cut short.
- Use personal anecdotes. Explain your position with facts, and use personal stories when possible. Make sure legislators understand the personal ramifications or benefits resulting from their actions.
- Focus on only a few issues to avoid overloading the legislator with too much information, and keep the conversation simple and polite.
- If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation.
- Have the legislators clarify their position and/or vote on the issue.
- Show openness to the knowledge of counterarguments and respond to them.
- Firmly and fairly direct the conversation especially if the conversation begins to veer off track.
- Ask the legislator to take some specific actions such as sponsoring a bill, voting for or against a pending measure.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so, but offer to get an answer.
- Express thanks as you leave.
After the Visit:
- Write a thank you letter summarizing your priority points.
- Share the results of your meetings, including insights about legislators’ concerns. Inform the CCA membership through the newsletter.
- Maintain ongoing communication with legislators and their staff through letters, calls, and visits.
- Find out when legislators will be at home in the district and organize a local visit.