Lobbying by Personal Visit (Home District or Capitol)

  • Make an appointment. Be flexible and conscious of their time demands. Meet with them in groups. Be open to meet with them for coffee or lunch.
  • Be specific, concise and courteous
  • Invite them to a board meeting or organization event.
  • Focus on local district impact.
  • Offer to provide additional information.
  • Ask your legislator’s position on the issue.
  • Thank the legislator for his/her time.
  • Follow up with a thank you letter. Briefly include your points in the letter and ask them to support your position. Confirm any commitment given to you in the meeting.

Lobbying by Phone

  • Prepare talking points
  • Identify yourself, your position, and impact on your organization
  • Briefly state the issue and your position on the issue, and impact on your organization.
  • Determine the legislator’s position on the issue.
  • Thank the legislator for his/her time. Follow up with a written thank your which includes a summary of your conversation and needed additional information.
  • If the legislator is unavailable, leave your name, title, and contact information with receptionist or legislative staff. The message must include bill number or title and the way your legislator should vote to support your organization.

Lobbying by Letter, Fax, or E-Mail

  • Write a personalized letter. Avoid form letters. You may start with a template as shown on the cafeiowacan website.
  • Identify yourself as a constituent in the e-mail subject line.
  • Write in a polite style.
  • Identify yourself, your position and your organization.
  • Be specific and concise.
  • Focus on the impact the issue will have in your community and organization.
  • Ask the legislator to support your particular position.
  • Thank the legislator for his/her consideration.

Lobbying via the News Media

  • Identify yourself, your position and your organization.
  • Explain the issue without using jargon.
  • Use key words, phrases and key messages. Imagine the headline before you say it. Then craft your phrases t fit the headline. Repeat your key message three times.
  • Be factual, not emotional.
  • Use press releases when good things happen.
  • Clip articles about your organization and send to your legislators.

Lobbying via a Letter to the Editor

  • Stick to one issue-information and persuasion.
  • A person should be able to read it in one minute.
  • Refer to a recent event or an article.
  • Identify yourself, your position and your organization along with your address and phone number.
  • Fax or email your letter if possible, otherwise mail it.
  • Mail letter to all newspapers that have subscribers in your district. Send a copy to your legislator.
  • Clip and mail published letter to your legislators.
  • Use samples provided by CAFE Iowa CAN as samples and templates, but make them your own.

Lobbying via Opinion Leaders and “Regular Citizens”

  • Recruit advocates before the session begins. Legislators say receipt of 10-20 personal letters (not form letters) demonstrates a groundswell of support for an issue.
  • Figure out who gets the ear of your legislator.
  • Arrange a meeting with a local citizen and provide key information on an issue and ask if they would be willing to help advocate on your issue.
  • Ask them to get back to your with the results of their conversations with your legislators.
  • Arrange a meeting with the citizen advocate, yourself and your legislator and work as a team.