Read our list of advocacy tips below or click through our PowerPoint presentation about Advocating at the Capitol.

Be Organized and Ready

  • Use the interim to connect with legislators
  • Build a relationship with staff
  • Request bill and resolution drafts early
  • Coordinate with allies to share the workload
  • If meeting with legislator as a group, designate key spokesperson and/or talking points
  • Consider a “leave behind” that emphasizes your key points
  • Have a plan of action

Be Aware

  • Of the legislative calendar
    • Identify bills early
    • Know your deadlines
      • Vary depending on committee referrals
      • Committees have their own schedules – 48 or 72 hour notice
    • Keep your eye on issues, not just bills
  • Of the process
    • Who has power over your bills
      • Chairs decide if something will be heard, and when – approach them when the bill is in their wheelhouse
      • Leadership sometimes weighs in
      • Potential allies and opponents
    • Don’t freak out if $ is blanked out, or defective date appears — common practice

Be Prepared and Informed

  • Sign up for hearing notices, create tracking lists
    • Use the website to find bills, sign up for hearing notices, set up bill tracking lists
    • Monitor subject matter committees
      • Someone in your coalition should be receiving hearing notices for subject matter committee(s)
  • Be ready with core draft testimony
  • Know committee schedules – perhaps make note on your calendar
  • Monitor media to keep larger focus
  • Sign up to be on PAR’s newsletter/alert list — you’ll be advised if there are leadership or committee changes

Be Knowledgeable

  • Know your issue
  • Be a trusted source of information for your bills
  • Know what you don’t know! And don’t be afraid to say so.
  • Know your opposition
    • Who are the other stakeholders and what are they saying? Give the legislator the heads up on expected criticism so they won’t be caught off guard.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell a story (but keep it short)
    • How does this legislation affects your family, business, clients, neighbors?
    • How does this legislation affect you?

Be Engaged and Proactive

  • Clearly communicate your “ask” and follow up!
  • Get others involved to testify, offer support, track bills
  • Consider using media and social media to publicize issue
  • Show up and testify
  • Schedule visits with legislators
  • Make use of advocacy groups and their resources
  • Use interim to check in, keep issue fresh on mind of legislators and their staff
  • Be ready to communicate your vision

Be Flexible and Open to Compromise

  • Be prepared to negotiate
  • Work with legislators’ schedules and don’t dismiss working with staff (may become an internal advocate for your issue)
  • Attempt to bring solutions
  • Be constructive with criticism
  • Have a backup plan
  • Sometimes having “something” is better than “nothing” (sometimes, not)
  • Listen to those you disagree with – they may be your best teachers
    • Consider meeting with your opposition to discuss your common ground/differences
    • Can you turn opponents into allies by finding “win-win” alternatives?

Be Persistent

  • Marathon, not a sprint
  • May take years
  • Resolutions as way to further an issue
  • Debrief after session
    • Use notes to sketch new game plan
  • Be ready to ask for another hearing, offer more testimony, schedule another meeting
  • Continue to communicate with legislators and stakeholders… keep the issue fresh in their minds, keep looking for solutions
  • Network – you don’t have to do it alone