The Ten Commandments of Citizen Lobbying
Express them accurately and positively. Facts and figures matter, so do sources * Never misrepresent your opponent's view " * Long-term credibility is more valuable than short-term gain.
- Know your facts.
Know your opposition. Identify your opposition early. * Analyzing and
neutralizing your opponent's position is as important as your own case.
* Prepare rebuttals carefully.
Correct errors Immediately. When many individuals participate in a lobbying campaign, errors can occur. Anticipate them. * Carefully follow
policies regarding Individuals authorized to speak for the group.
Plan, coordinate and follow up each lobbying contact. Carefully plan your approach. * Know the role s/he is about to play In the outcome of your Issue before you make contact." Keep careful notes about meetings and follow up with a brief summary letter to the official. * Develop networks of friends In the legislature, including staff and other lobbyists, and keep them informed of your activities x * Thank those who helped you.
Avoid being a zealot. No one Is impressed by fanatics. * Credibility is enhanced by a reasoned approach supported by your commitment to the Issue.
Cultivate your allies. Make sure they do their part. Work In coalition with groups that share your concerns on a particular issue, even though they may differ on another issue. * Articulate and agree upon mutual goals, strategies and tactics * Unlikely allies are the surprise Ingredient in many successful lobbying efforts.
Know the legislative process. Good intentions are no substitute for knowing how a bill becomes a law. * Know the key players, the role of leadership, the folkways, customs and timing of the legislative body. * Cultivate and revere those who have developed such expertise In your group. Consult with them often.
[Be frugal with your money. Be very judicious about how you spend your funds.]
Grow thick skin. Taking a position can often evoke criticism. Don't take It personally. * Although lobbying is serious, don't take yourself too
seriously. *Above all, maintain a sense of humor. Lobbying can be fun.
WIN. Dedicate yourself to winning. Dream of it, plan for it. * Believe In yourself, your group, your issue. This is what gives you power as a citizen lobbyist. * Share the credit with everyone who helped. * Be gracious to your opponents. They may be your allies on another Issue
(from the Fall '89 issue of the American Association of University Women's PREVIEW magazine)
[The Citizen's Guide to Lobbying Congress (paperback) by Donald E. De Kieffer]