Citizen Lobbying 101 with Issue One’s Meredith McGehee

Workshop Notes: 

  • Know your policy, not just the message and the passion – you have to know what you’re talking about
  • Know what success looks like; come to work every day with a dynamic plan that evolves.

Advice to take home:

Democracy is a marathon. Be prepared for the long haul, be prepared to lose, and stay tough through the wins and losses. Cultivate unlikely allies and view lobbying like dating, by checking in regularly and getting to know your allies and your enemies.

Tips for Communication:

  • Text – direct and short. No sarcasm, no jokes. Just don’t do it! Keep it pithy.
  • Email can be misinterpreted, so be direct and get to the point.
  • Personal calls – pick up the phone!
  • Coalition meeting – No more than 1 hour for a coalition meeting with maximum of ten people. If it’s a 2 hour coalition meeting, provide food!

Be able to articulate your message and your ask in 1-2 minutes. Make your ask more open ended by asking something like “has your boss made a commitment on that yet?” instead of “so do we have your support?”

Regular contact should be monthly communication – sharing a specific article, extending an invitation to an event or briefing, informing a new bill introduced.

Phone banking is rapidly losing impact. It’s more about a process that has already identified people who are with you and who are already responding.

Final Thought:

“If you’re a good lobbyist, you listen.”