Lobby Like a Pro

South Carolina State House

Legislators

  • Know the Legislators in your district, and try to build a relationship with them. You can find your legislators at: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php
  • Know them by site and study their profiles. Photos are all over the Web.
  • Check them out on their campaign websites, like their Facebook page and follow their Twitter accounts.
  • Look up the bill and the committee where your bill will go through. http://www.scstatehouse.gov/billsearch.php
  • If a similar bill, look up the vote history. Start with those that voted for the bill.
  • Legislators are normal people. Elected officials, and all of their staff are more “reachable” than you may assume.

Staff

  • Nothing is as persuasive and satisfying as showing up at the Capitol Building and sitting down in a legislator’s office.
  • ALWAYS be courteous and invest in the staff (don’t underestimate them).
  • Go together to your Senators’ offices. Always have a veteran advocate partner with you for support.

Meetings

  • Make an appointment! This is the big one.
  • Dress for success! Wear comfortable shoes. People who look professional are more persuasive.
  • Men: Wear a nice jacket, slacks and a tie, or a suit.
  • Women: Wear a dress; or pants, blouse, and a jacket.
  • Bring 100 business cards. Leave one at every office.
  • Bring your child/patient along, especially if you have a sick child/patient who may benefit from the new law. If it’s not feasible, bring a photo with their name, age, hometown, and condition.
  • Have one or two compelling facts about your child/patient and their condition.
  • Bring printed material. A single page of text in a large font, with bullet points, will last longer than the vague memory of a casual chat.
  • Start with “Thanks”. Show some appreciation. It sets a nice tone for the interaction, and opens anyone up to be a better listener.
  • Be considerate and ask if they have time to speak.
  • Have a game plan.
  • Even if you don’t get the outcome from a meeting, the relationship is worth the investment.
  • The ultimate goal should be to make a personal connection and gain trust. You want them to know that you are a credible, smart information source.
  • Secondary goal is to request support.
  • Leave a fact sheet (one page) behind.
  • Take notes, including on the legislators.

Meeting Follow-Up

  • ALWAYS follow up with an email, phone call or a thank you note.
  • Address any concerns or questions they may have had.

Testimony at a Committee Hearing

  • In the interest of time, not everyone will speak, but there are a lot of people who care about this issue, so have them stand up.
  • Be selective of personal story; it can be overwhelming.
  • Keep testimony to 3-5 key points or know how much time is allotted.
  • Never read your testimony. Just have bullets.

To start lobbying with the SC Compassionate Care Alliance, sign this form letting us know you’ve read and agreed to these policies regarding lobbying.

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