steps to pass legislaion | Legislators
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Elements of successful advocacy
Elements of Successful Advocacy
To rise above the din and be heard, voices must be linked in something
approaching unison -
Identify the policy makers who are the individuals who determine
the direction an issue will take
2. Identify you allies - look beyond the obvious
3. Know the facts of your issue. Learn what you must know and
be aware of what information you do not have.
4. Know the opposition - understand where they stand and why.
Understand what they seek and need from every perspective.
5. Know how to refute negative responses. Sometimes with facts,
humor, challenge or conciliation.
6. Use the media strategically. Keep the media correctly informed
and have a positive relationship.
7. Find a champion. Make your cause appealing to someone special.
8. Know the obstacles. Attack the easiest hurdles first and build
on your success
9. Get a foot in the door. Take the first step and keep coming
10. Modify your position if necessary. Know what you can or cannot
11. Know when to compromise and when not too. You do not want
to lose your allies.
12. Time frames - be reasonable - divide goals into small, manageable
steps - advocacy is not an overnight proposition - it takes time
and patience. - Be realistic - most of your groups efforts will
be with volunteer time and energy - these things take time - Be
prepared to be unpopular - no matter how great your issue - someone
will find fault in it - do not take it personally
13. Negotiating - always stick with the issue, don't reference
personalities or get involved in personal attacks - these are
tactics to get attention away from issue - be patient - patience
and determination are critical - be a good listener - be sensitive
to others needs - be honest - the only way to build trust and
credibility - know what you want
14. Motivation - how to motivate people - frame it - everyone
is wondering how this will affect them, why should I care - self
interest is the most available motivational factor Structure all
your info in persons experience so they can relate to you
to Package Your Issue
Timing is everything - Even though the budget is not completed
until May - August, the time to begin organizing material and
meeting with key people is August - October. This is a time when
agencies are beginning to get their budget requests developed
to be submitted to the Division of the Budget. This is also a
great time to meet with staff because they have more time to sit
down and discuss your particular issue, they can focus more on
2. Prove your point with facts. You need to be able to back up
your statements with facts. No one is interested in what you think
will happen, you must prove it.
3. You need a hook to get someone's attention. For example - what
is going to happen if you do not get the money, the service or
the particular piece of legislation.
4. Place things in context. For example, what are the political
realities at that time, what else is on the agenda of those you
are seeing or asking for something from.
5. Make your demands reasonable. Don't ask for everything and
don't ask for something that is out of the question. Remember
that you are one constituency out of thousands.
6. Don't limit yourself to dollar demands. There are statutory
and regulatory issues as well. Remember, everyone is asking for
7. You are competing with others in the state. You need to find
something that distinguishes you from everyone else in the state.
Say why your issue is import for and to the people you are meeting
8. Know who supports and opposes your issue.
9. Things take time and times change. You must build up pressure
and support. The more broad based the better.
10. Never leave a meeting without saying "What is our next step?"
Do not let people off the hook
1. Identify an issue - many ways to do this. Each advocacy
movement needs a starting place - a stimulus for action.
- phone calls coming in to your office
- casual conversation with friends, neighbors
- brainstorming meetings
- must make the issue as specific and clear as possible
- must make sure that group has independence in choosing issues
- so they "own the issue"
- People will only support and work on issues that are "theirs"
- the emphasis must be on what group wants
2. Test the issue Just because someone brings up an issue
does not mean it is an issue, you must test it.
How - ask people - "Some of your neighbors have said that....if
we were to have a meeting about this, would you be interested
in coming?" Could do a survey - door-to-door, at senior centers,
community centers, churches , etc.
3. Leadership Leaders are you - they are community people.
In order for the community effort to succeed, there must be leaders
Who brought up the issue(s), who seemed the most angry about it,
did anyone's name come up several times about this.
Hold a small gathering with a couple of people "just to talk"
4. Hold a preliminary meeting - this is the first step
in identifying leaders - people need to make their own choices
on how to move the issue - you must move the issue - not just
talk about it - be prepared to always have "next steps"
O What is the Issue?
O What are things we can do about the issue?
O Of these things, what do we want to do first?
O When and where do we have a meeting of more people so that we
can build support for this action?
O Who will chair the meeting?
O What is/should the agenda be?
O Who will pass out, fax, mail, the flyers and ring doorbells?
O Should we notify churches and other community groups?
O Do we notify the press?
the meeting in the easiest, most convenient and closest place
to the issue
Hold a larger meeting After all the legwork - hope people
show up When people show up - greet them and prepare them for
the meeting (handouts etc) Test some ideas - "What should we do?"
One suggestion was..What do you think?
- Sing in sheet
- Make sure the leaders force the group to make some decisions
about the issues
- Recap of decisions made at the meeting so everyone understands
what the next steps will be
- Date, time and place for next meeting
- Someone to keep minutes and distribute them
Go after the issue