Effective Lobbying Techniques

Testifying  |  How a Bill Becomes a Law  


Before heading to Tallahassee – DO YOUR HOMEWORK AT HOME!


The most important lobbying is done at home, in your legislator’s home district. Our lawmakers need to hear from their constituents. Make contact with your legislator's office to discuss your issues. Effective lobbying requires multiple contacts and follow-ups.

  • The Legislative Staff -
    It is important to get to acquainted with the staff members assigned to legislators, their aides, secretaries and committees. Often you will need to meet with your legislator's aide. They can give legislators feedback on "hot button" issues. Get to know them because you will need to work closely with them. 

  • Always Identify Yourself -
    Public officials and their staff come in contact with a lot of people. It is impossible for them to remember everyone. Be sure to always identify yourself at every contact, and remind them of your special interest.

  • Familiarize Yourself the Issues -
    Be aware of the status of each bill that pertains to your subject or issues. Check the bill’s status daily.

  • Know Your Local Legislator -
    Study their past record on related issues. Learn what is important to your legislator. What are their interests and committee assignments? Try to determine the most effective approaches to gaining thier attention. Ask yourself what would make your issue compelling to them. Take time to identify any prior commitment that your laegislator may have had to your cause. Always encourage legislators to promote support for your cause among their colleagues.

  • Acknowledge -
    Commend legislators for any positive action on your issue or concern. A phone call or sending a personal note is an effective way to say thank you. Be quick to commend and slow to criticize. Being critical is seldom beneficial unless done in a constructive manner. If you are opposed to an action taken by your legislator, always provide alternative solutions. Remember, the legislator who votes against your position today may support your position tomorrow.

  • Presentation of Your Case -
    Do your homework and make sure that you have all of the facts, but be brief with your appeal. Work with your legislators – do not confront them. Remember, they lobby other legislators to support or oppose your issue. Always come prepared with written documentation that supports your position for your legislator. Keep literature and information brief. Provide material that is easy to read with main points highlighted. As a common courtesy, be sure to turn off or place your cell phone on vibrate during your meeting.

  • Follow Up Periodically -
    We are all busy people. Stay in touch with your lawmaker and provide a brief reminder about your position to your legislator since thousands of bills are considered each session.

  • The Negative Legislator -
    If a legislator responds negatively to your issue, never overreact or become emotional. Always keep the door open for the future. Many times a legislator will change their opinion after learning more information. Remember to talk to your adversaries as well as your advocates. Never take any vote for granted. If you are going to oppose someone’s bill, tell them. Often a compromise can be worked out that will benefit both parties. You may gain a supporter!

  • FEA Lobby Team -
    The FEA Public Policy Advocacy Division (PPA) consists of a team of full-time government relations staff who are registered lobbyists and provide professional expertise on education-related issues. FEA also has an Advocacy committee that reviews candidates and makes recommendations for your voting consideration. It is important to get to know FEA's recommended candidates and get involved in their elections.

 

 

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