Advocacy Day, also called as Lobby Day usually involves a non-profit organization staff members coming together in Washington D.C. to talk to the staff members of the Congress about important issues.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, my organization celebrated its first Advocacy day in March 2016 where we met staff representatives of 23 legislators. Helping them become micro experts on the organization’s issue is the first step to convince them. Post our meetings I reflected on how we could make the briefing better and more successful. This blog discusses the first five key take aways.
Firstly approach them the right way. Once you secure an appointment with them, send them an agenda and small description of the issue to be discussed. This way the staffer will be better prepared and will have extra time to think about questions he may want to ask. When you go on the hill, the staffers are so over worked that they only allow a meeting of 20-25 minutes. Hence sending them a pre-read will help you save time by directly getting to the point.
Secondly, one should be very consistent with the logistical details. Be on time. Have your visiting cards ready and make sure you mention the exact headcount of people in the meeting. These are small things but everything right in this area sets the tone of the meeting right.
Thirdly, be prepared with string talking points, smart arguments and some interesting facts and figures. While doing your research on the member, focus on linkages between his work and your interests and quote them in the meeting when the opportunity is right.
Fourthly, bring a person from the grassroots or the constituency of the member if the organization works there. This will increase the impact of what you are doing as you have a local stressing your points and the need to address the issues.
Last but not the least, be very crisp and brief. If you are with a group of people, practice before hand who will say what beforehand to save time. Also, do not give them bulky documents to read.