Presentation on theme: "Nuts & Bolts of Lobbying: Tips for Effective Meetings with Lawmakers and Staffers."— Presentation transcript:
Nuts & Bolts of Lobbying: Tips for Effective Meetings with Lawmakers and Staffers
Contents Effective meetings: before, during, and after Reciprocity Coalitions Media Practice Golden rules
Tips for lobbying effectively: Preparing for your meeting(s) Always make an appointment Send your topics in advance when confirming your meeting. Staffers love the organization, and it helps maximize everyones time Know ALL sides of the issue(s). Theyve been hearing from all sides, so be prepared to answer questions persuasively Know the legislator: Look at sponsored legislation and the policymakers website (including affiliations) Know the power of your institution within your district: employment created by the university, economic impact, etc. Dont insist on seeing the representative – staffers are there for a reason!
Tips for lobbying effectively: During your meeting(s) Paper: Master the one-page memo Telephone: Focus on a single topic and be specific about the points you are trying to make In person: Practice your presentation before the meeting and limit it to ten minutes Always leave contact information: Leave contact information for you and the AAUP Government Relations staff Academic Freedom Is Not Free Whatever your medium, keep it short.
Tips for lobbying effectively: During your meeting(s) Always be specific: refer to the bill number and official title On average, 10,000 bills introduced at the federal level (each 2-year) session. So - referring to the education bill wont cut it! If there is no active legislation pending on your issue, come ready with some draft language and/or specific talking points STAY ON MESSAGE
Tips for lobbying effectively: During your meeting(s) Always bring it back to the constituents. How does your cause benefit the district or the state? Framing issues in right/ wrong, or good/bad, will only get you so far Be as specific as possible about the benefits for the greater good, and youre actually helping the congressperson sell your ideas back home
Consider your audience Presentation style (brief) Acknowledge the other point of view – then counter it Dont be confrontational Words matter: rather than using words like educating, try partnering or supporting. Stress collaboration over persuasion.
Tips for lobbying effectively: During your meeting(s) There are many things you can ask your representative to do besides vote yes or no: o An entry in the congressional record o A visit to your institution o A meeting or event in the home district o Write an op-ed piece
Reciprocity What can you do for your representative? o As a well-informed, civically engaged citizen, you are a great asset o Consider drafting questions for upcoming hearings or suggesting a knowledgeable colleague as a witness o Ask how you can help publicize or organize events in the home district
Tips for lobbying effectively: follow-up Always say thank you! Sending a thank-you note or is also a good time to pass along an article or other small bit of follow-up information Establish yourself as a resource: make yourself available to provide further information in the future Maintain the relationship – the time to visit/call is not simply when you want something. Reciprocity helps build true partnerships If the first response you receive is generic, write back again with specific questions. Dont be afraid to engage
Tips for lobbying effectively: Get your message out How can the media be involved? - Op-eds - Pitch factual news stories to raise awareness - Press conferences - Hold events where media can be invited - Speak THEIR language
Tips for lobbying effectively: Build coalitions Think bigger: who shares your goals/interests on a particular bill or topic? How can you reach out to them? Can resources be shared for maximum impact? Who has ties to which policymakers?
Fine print Lobbying Disclosure Act requirements - unless you are a registered lobbyist (i.e. you receive compensation for lobbying), you do not have to disclose contacts The new ethics rules are stricter about gifts and meals – when in doubt, dont do it!
Faculty-specific points of caution Differences between your job and theirs: knowledge for knowledge vs knowledge as means to an end (pragmatism) Avoid lecturing or educating The Hill is largely run by 20-somethings, please speak to them as peers, not students Make sure you address government, not governance – a common newbie mistake
Practice! Practice! Practice! Brainstorming on coalition partners Condensing complex issues into talking points Speed-lobbying
Rules to live by #1 Bypass the interns - get the name of the staffer working on your issue(s) and address your letter, or meeting request directly to them. Request a response. If you get a generic response the first time, write again with specific questions – ENGAGE #2 Always make an appointment in advance. It is not likely that the person you seek will be available if you come by unannounced. Once youve made an appointment, remember to send topic information in advance of the meeting – staffers appreciate the preparation immensely
Rules to live by #3 Be aware of political context: whats happening politically? What is the timing of bills on other major issues? Is this issue part of a larger issue? ** Broad Attention, Focused Action ** #4 Bigger is better. The more outreach you do, and the bigger the coalition you can put together, the louder your voice is. Dont be afraid of strange bedfellows unless you think they could undermine your credibility – do your homework!
Rules to live by #5 Offer assistance. Youre an expert on higher ed. and faculty issues, so offer yourself as a resource to staffers. This is especially useful if you can anticipate upcoming needs – e.g. submitting questions for scheduled hearings, etc. BUT remember to be careful about how you frame the offer: Educating vs. Partnering
Rules to live by #6 Offer a business card whenever possible to get one in return. It makes follow-up much easier. And when a staffer wants to solicit opinions on a higher ed. bill, your number is right at their fingertips #7 Dont just sell your position TO the legislator, sell it FOR the legislator. If you make a solid case for how it directly benefits constituents, youve done the hard part of their job for them