How to Effectively Advocate
Steps to a Successful Meeting with a Legislator
Step 1: Say who you are and let them know if you are a constituent.
Step 2: Say why you are there – the one sentence version.
Step 3: Make your case – the three minute version.
Step 4: Ask for something – their vote, their sponsorship of a bill, etc.
Step 5: Keep it short and sweet – 15 minutes is a good meeting length.
Step 6: If your legislators oppose your issue(s), take a moment to ask their reasoning, and address any misconceptions
5 Tips to Make it a Success
- Try to leave something in writing: fact sheet, newspaper clipping, etc.
- Ask if there is any other information or answers the legislator would like.
- Ask the legislator how else s/he might help you (they may have a way to help you might not have considered).
- At the end of the meeting verbally review what you agreed to do for the legislator and what the legislator has agreed to do for you.
- After the meeting, be sure to get the legislator what you promised in a timely manner. If expecting a future response from a legislator, ask when you can respect to receive that and follow up.
“Do’s” and “Dont’s” Of Advocacy
- Don’t make threats. Don’t argue. If it is clear that the legislator will not support your position, just give the facts and ask him or her to consider your viewpoint. This will keep the lines of communication open for discussing future issues.
- Don’t expect the impossible and don’t give up.
- Be open to talking with staff.
- Bring the facts. Address any misconceptions or myths.
- Give personal examples, they are powerful.
- Be specific. Know what you want your legislator to do.
- Be honest. Do not exaggerate.
- Be concise. Keep visits and phone calls brief and to the point.
- Be courteous, firm, and confident.
- Have Fun!