Advocacy Tips

Tips for Legislative Visits

Advanced Prep:

  • Know the legislators party affiliation and district counties served
  • Is the legislator timed out or will he/she be running again?
  • If the legislator is timed out, who is running against for that seat? Who has the best chance (look a election contributions, ask key leaders)?
  • Know his/her staff names and titles
  • Research the legislator’s committee assignments
  • What have been the legislator’s key issues, agenda, bills sponsored, etc.
  • Ask others where the legislator has stood in the past
  • Review the legislators web site to see position on conservation issues
  • Research personal information such as military service, work history, family, conservation involvement, hobbies (fishing, boating, etc.), club and organization affiliations, etc.
  • Look at their donor list from the last campaign
  • Who would be a key person to accompany (a campaign donor who is conservation minded, a key leader from their party, someone that know them well)?
  • Select the best spokesperson – one who knows the issue and has a relationship with the legislator is preferable

Know the Issue:

  • Get familiar with the Ocklawaha Restoration Leader Briefing Book and Advocacy Guide
  • Understand the hot topics for that region, what matters to constituents in his/her counties

Conducting the Meeting

  • Be brief, be brilliant
  • 15-20 minutes long tops
  • Ask the candidate to share their views of the subject, what are their concerns and questions
  • Focus your comments on three key issues (focusing on any they bring up)
  • Keep your message focused
  • If multiple people attend, assign key topics to each
  • Localize the issue with how it affects their district
  • Use local stories

Be Positive

  • Thank them for support on past issues
  • Keep partisan politics out of the discussion
  • Respect the members point of view (Thank you for sharing your concerns. I know you care about xxxx.)
  • If they raise questions or concerns that you can’t answer, say that you will get the information for them and immediately follow-up
  • Engage staff – give them your contacts, you want them to remember you and use you as a resource

Close the Deal

  • Be ready to end with an ask, know what you want them to do
  • Ask what other information they need
  • Establish yourself as a resource for issues on the river
  • Leave behind one pager (not a lot of information)
  • Write thank you note within two weeks and summarize your position
  • Post on social media if appropriate
  • Report on your visit to the advocacy committee chair