Steps to Developing a Lobbying Effort
Prepare your Board of Directors – Discuss the potential benefits of public policy work with your board of directors and determine their interest in helping build your organization’s public policy platform.
Review the relationship between your organization & government – Develop a comprehensive list of the ways government, at all levels, affects your organization’s ability to meet its mission.
Identify your issue – Decide what you will work on, making sure you select a concrete, clear and winnable issue that a majority of your constituents care about and agree on.
Gather information and data – Become an expert on your issue, learning as much as you can about existing and proposed policy, community impact, alternative ideas, successful models from other areas, etc.
Look for allies – There is truth in the old saying, “There is power in numbers.” Identify other organizations working on your issue or who have a stake in it and might be interested in getting involved. By teaming up, you will multiply your clout exponentially.
Define your target – Think about who has the power to affect your issue. Depending upon the situation, your target may be the general community or just a few key legislators.
Develop your message – Work with your allies to develop a short, powerful statement that communicates your core message. You may develop several arguments to support this message, but everything you do will come back to this one memorable phrase.
Choose your tactics – Decide how to best communicate your message to your target. This will vary depending on who you are trying to reach and what resources you have available to you. Options include meeting with legislators but also testifying before a legislative or regulatory board; hosting an educational forum where elected officials can describe their position in relation to your issue; writing letters to the editor; speaking to members of your church; participating in a rally; developing educational materials that outline the impact of legislation; etc.