Tips for Effective Lobbying
Q: I’ve scheduled a meeting with my legislator… Now what?
A: Come to the meeting prepared. You will have only a short time to talk to your legislator because of the many constituents who want to see him or her about issues or problems. Organize your meeting by following the tips below:
- Take a letter or fact sheet to the meeting to leave with the legislator.
- Practice in advance. Anticipate answering questions about the issue.
- Treat your legislator as you’d want to be treated; be respectful and professional.
- Never threaten or brag on your campaigning or contributions when talking about issues.
- Thank your legislators for their support, time and serving in public office.
- After the meeting, report back to the association to let them know how the meeting went.
Q: If I can’t meet in person, will a phone call work?
A: Yes, phone calls can be effective if you follow these steps:
- Write down key points before you call.
- Practice in advance.
- If you are a constituent of the legislator, be sure to mention it.
- If you have a large number of the legislator’s constituents who rent units from you, be sure to mention that too.
- Ask for a report on how the legislator stands/voted on the issue of sales tax on self storage.
- Be brief. Keep your call under five minutes.
- Be respectful and professional.
- Follow up with a written thank you letter restating your position.
- Report results to the association.
Q: Should I send a letter to my legislator?
A: There is power in numbers when it comes to lobbying. Imagine the impact if every NCSSA member were to generate a new letter to legislators each week about the sales tax issue. Letters to representatives should follow these guidelines:
- Always type your letter. While handwritten is more personal, the letter should be very easy to read.
- Use your company or association letterhead so the legislator knows who you are and what you represent.
- Keep your letter to one page. Include fact sheets or other information on additional pages.
- Include your name and address.
- State that you are a constituent.
- Outline your view on the sales tax issue.
- Request that the legislator vote against sales tax.