4 Ways to lobby your elected official and make your voice heard:
- Letter writing: Writing to a public official does make a difference. They know that every person who writes represents many others who feel the same but don’t write. Here are a few tips to be most effective:
- Be clear about what you want, listing the bill, etc.
- Tell a story or example to make the issue real.
- Ask for a direct response with his or her position.
- Personal letters are much better than form letters or petitions.
- Visits: Every citizen has the right to seek a meeting with their legislator, councilperson, or other elected representative. These tips will help make visits effective:
- Keep your group small (4-5 people)
- Make your group diverse.
- Discuss in advance how to handle the meeting.
- Be direct but not threatening
- Know your facts.
- Phone Call:
- Identify yourself by name, address, home town and phone number
- Briefly state your position on the bill and how you would like your legislator to vote.
- Ask for their position or view of the bill. Volunteer to forward further information.
- Be prepared to speak with their secretary or aide and have your position relayed. Cultivate ongoing relationships with these staff people.
- *This may be too much information for the 800 in-session numbers which will need a very concise message.
- Because of the ease in which e-mail may be sent by anyone from anywhere in the world, it is difficult to gauge it’s effectiveness. Additionally, different people use e-mail differently. If you know an individual uses it extensively, it may be a sufficient way to communicate. Keep in mind, however, the less personal a lobbying effort is the less effective it will be, and e-mail is the least personal way to contact a legislator.
- -Follow the rules for writing a letter.
- -Make sure you clearly identify yourself with a real world address.
- -Try to include the issue and your position in the subject line. Even if they don’t read the message they will see this information.
- -If possible send your message with a reply receipt. This will let you know if they have opened it and if you need to make contact in another way.
National Coalition for the Homeless
2201 P Street NW
Washington, DC 20037-1033
Page last modified: August 17, 2012