It’s that time of year when most state legislatures are wrapping up their work. This past year we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.
It might be tempting to close the book on this chapter, but now is the time to evaluate your campaigns, see what worked and what didn’t, and start thinking about your plan for the next session.
After you take some time to rest and rejuvenate, get your team together to review how you engaged and communicated with your members, donors, and other stakeholders in your efforts.
Were you proactive or reactive? Is there a way you can set your advocates up for success? What trainings can you provide in the off-season?
Organizations with a steady drumbeat will be remembered by lawmakers when tough decisions are being made. And organizations that routinely engage their members will help with this process.
You need to consistently engage your members, donors, and supporters throughout the legislative session – and off session. Not here, not there; but consistently throughout the process. From planning, to training, to go-time.
Legislative advocacy is like a football game. The players and coaches don’t just show up to the game with no practice or strategy. This all must be done weeks and months leading up to the season.
Planning and strategy need to be discussed and communicated before the session begins. If your session starts in January, I am talking September (not December, not January). This means sharing your legislative agenda, your legislative targets, leadership, talking points, predictions, etc.
One of the most important aspects of grassroots advocacy is building relationships with your advocates. Your members and supporters want to be kept in the loop, they want to know what is going on. They want training to be confident in their advocacy skills. Only then can they be the best advocates for your organization.
Further, as you consistently engage your members, that means that lawmakers are being consistently engaged as well. This will serve you well when lawmakers need to make tough decisions throughout the legislative session – and beyond.