How to Lobby for Your Cause

By: BECK, Gail

Beginning Phase

  • Introduce your organization
  • Explain its mission, goals and objectives
  • Introduce and explain the issues you wish to discuss
  • Talk about your patients using examples to illustrate problems and solutions
  • Talk about solutions that are feasible
  • Offer your expertise whenever needed or whenever it might be needed
  • Be sincere and passionate without being emotional
  • Take notes! Decide ahead of time who of your group will be note taker

What Legislators Want

  • To be well-informed about local events/situation
  • Reliable contacts for information about their constituency
  • To be acknowledged for positive political action

What Legislators do Not Want

  • To be talked down to or belittled
  • To have his or her time wasted
  • To hear repetitive versions of the same argument
  • To be part of an emotional display of anger

Final Tips

  • Be on time for the meeting
  • Do not take more time for the meeting unless it is available
  • Answer questions honestly. If you do not have an answer, offer to get back to an assistant with the information
  • Be a good listener
  • Ask good questions that will keep your agenda in focus
  • Plan a condensed version of your presentation in case the meeting time is shortened
  • Be flexible
  • Prepare an information package of handouts including a one-page summary of your main points in large print. Have enough handouts for participants in your group, the legislator, and his or her assistants.
  • Bring a camera and take pictures for your newsletter.
  • Follow up with a letter of thanks and a copy of your newsletter with the photo and report of your visit.
  • Small gifts with the logo of your organization are often appreciated

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