Lobbying

Lobbying is an attempt to influence legislation. You don’t need to be a professional lobbyist or have any political experience to lobby.

Here are some great tips from the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Congress for Fathers and Children:

Eleven Informal Rules for Effective Lobbying

Consider yourself an information source: Legislators have limited time, staff (if any), and interest on any one issue.
They can’t be as informed as they might like on all the issues - or the ones that concern you. You can fill the information gap.

Tell the truth: There is no quicker way to lose your credibility than to give false or misleading information to a legislator.

Know who is on your side: It is helpful for a legislator to know what other groups, individuals, state agencies and/or legislators are working with
you on an issue.

Know the opposition: Anticipate who the opposition will be - organized or individual.
Tell the legislator what their arguments are likely to be and provide them with answers and rebuttals to those arguments.

Make the legislator aware of any personal connections you may have: No matter how insignificant you may feel it is, if you have friends, relatives,
or colleagues in common, let them know! And use personal examples from your own life or the lives or your neighbors.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something: If a legislator wants information you don’t have or asks something you don’t know,
tell them so and then offer to get the information they are looking for.

Be specific about what you are asking for: If you want a vote, information, answers to a question - whatever it is - make sure you ask for
it directly and get an answer.

Respect the legislator’s time: While you as a citizen have the right and obligation to voice your opinions to the legislature, keep your communications
short and to the point. Try to fit your written correspondence to them within one printed page if possible. Testimony at a public hearing should be kept
to only a few minutes, especially if there are many others waiting to speak.

Follow up: It is very important to find out if your legislator did what he or she said they would do. It is equally important to thank them for their
support or ask for an explanation as to why they did not vote as they said they would.

Never burn any bridges: It is easy to get emotional over issues you feel strongly about. That’s fine, but be sure that no matter what happens,
you leave your dealings on good enough terms that you can go back to them. Remember, your strongest opponent on one issue may also be your strongest ally on another.

Don’t be intimidated: Many newcomers to grassroots lobbying, especially when attending public hearings, feel a bit nervous. Keep in mind
that legislators are responsible to you and that their job is to listen to and assess your feedback. If you’ve followed all of the guidelines listed
above, the legislator is almost certain to be grateful for your input.

Comments are closed.