Can’t be there in person? Make the most of you efforts to lobby or educate your legislator. Think about how much information they need to sift through and strategize how to best make your voice heard. Layer up your efforts for greater impact.
Legislative staff will tell you that personal letters written from individuals are very impactful, especially if the letter is concise and direct. Put the important information at the beginning of your letter. Getting to the matter at hand will make it more likely that they continue to read. Include your more in depth story afterwards. Usually one page is good. Provide support materials but include why they matter to your request.
Email campaigns and the internet have exploded and many legislators and their staff are overwhelmed by information or lack the support staff to sort through petitions. Our advice: sign the petition, send the postcard in collaboration with your favorite organization AND go the extra mile to include a personal email, write that letter, and make the call.
Calling your legislator is also a good idea. Be prepared! Here’s a few suggestions:
- Know what you want to tell them. Have it written down in front of you when you call. It can be easy to get sidetracked and you don’t want to hang up the phone and feel like you didn’t do what you set out to do.
- If it is a specific piece of legislation, know the number of the bill and when it is coming up for a vote in committee or on the floor.
- Be sure to repeat back any commitments or promises that are made.
- When you get a staff person who is recording your opinion be sure to be specific. Use a bill # if you can, state your support or opposition, give your phone and address, then tell you’re your story and let them know why. (Not the time to tell your life story)