In one of the sessions ASCD’s Leadership Initiative for Legislative Advocacy (LILA) DC conference earlier this week, Tina Dove, Legislative Advocate at ASCD, gave a crash course in advocacy. While her accompanying comments related specifically to education related content, the core content of her power point applies to advocacy work in any subject and at any level of government local, state or federal. Her main points are reprinted below with her permission. I hope they help you in your efforts to improve your community, state and/or country.
7 tips for communicating with lawmakers:
1. Do your homework.
- Know where policymakers stand on specific bills and issues
2. Establish relationships
- Staffers are important!
- Build relationships — Who am I? What do I do? What are my areas of expertise?
3. Think locally
- You have the greatest leverage with your own legislators
- Offer your policymakers stories from back home
4. Begin the process early
- Begin proactive is the key to advocacy
5. Know your key messages
- You won’t have much time to make your case
6. Get your issue on the record
- Getting an issue on the record provides proof that your elected official supports the legislation or policy recommendation you are making.
- Even if you disagree with a policymaker’s stated position on an issue, take the time to understand the other side’s opinion.