Five Tips for Building Relationships with Elected Officials

College Park, MD (December 11, 2012) – Attempting to meet with an elected representative—local, county, state, or federal?  What’s the timeframe?  How do you use your appointment? In person visits are one of the best strategies for advocacy. The Congressional Management Foundation highlights five “best practices” for building relationships with your elected representatives.

  1. Elected Representatives always want to meet with their constituents.  Include a member(s) of the community in your group meeting with the representative.
  2. Contact the office 3-4 weeks in advance of the date you want to meet with your representative, the legislative aide, or the chief of staff.
  3. Leave behind a one to two page issue summary. Longer isn’t better and in fact reduces the usefulness of the document.
  4. Present your personal story related to an issue or upcoming Bill. Offer your reason for supporting or opposing proposed legislation and talk about the impact it will have on your community, district, or state.
  5. Follow-up your visit with an email or phone call to the person with whom you met AND the legislative aide or chief of staff.

Go for it. Educate your representative on the issues of importance to your organization. For more tips and information about education and advocacy, take a look at the ACTrees Day presentations on “Affecting Public Policy: Opportunities for All.” This includes strategies from Connie Gallippi, Sr. Policy Consultant, Conservation Strategy Group, on “How to Develop and Delivery Advocacy Messages,” and Chuck Mills, Program Manager-Grants for California ReLeaf, on “Local, Regional, and National Issues.”

Related Resources:
Five Strategies for Building Successful Relationships with Elected Officials