Partners in Policymaking
Steps to Set up and Host a Meeting with your Policymakers
Take advantage of the opportunity to meet with your policymakers when they are at home in their districts. They have much more time available when they’re out of session.
Step 1: Determine your advocacy agenda.
Decide what your topic or general message will be. Limit your issues to one or two.
Step 2: Gather a group of constituents (preferably from their district)
Gather a group of stakeholders (friends, allies, professionals) who share concerns about your issue(s). Research the issue(s) and determine possible solutions you can offer to resolve the issue(s). Be consistent in your message and shape it to for the greatest impact upon the policymaker. It is important to have at least some if not all of the group from the policymaker’s district. Practice going over the message you want to share. Have members of your group tell their personal stories about how the issue has impacted their lives. Have professionals relate how the issue impacts the “system” and individuals they may serve. This helps the policymaker see a more complete picture of the issue.
Step 3: Setting the Time & Place:
Determine where you would like to have the meeting. Generally having it in a constituents’ home is a nice way to connect with the policymaker and make the meeting feel more information and open to discussion. It can be held at a local coffee shop, restaurant or meeting room. Call the Policymakers’ office and schedule the meeting. This is as simple as calling his office staff and requesting a day or evening to meet with him about your issue(s). The staff or policymaker will want to know the topic of the meeting in order to be more prepared for the meeting.
Step 4: The Meeting
Again, you will want to have determined in advance who will be speaking (personal stories are always powerful). Be sure to cover your issue from as many different aspects as possible, from impacts on individuals to impacts upon the “system”. Remember, it is best to have only one issue, but there may be more than one area of impact related to the issue. You will want to address each area which is impacted by the problem/issue. Be sure to offer solutions for your issue or a willingness to work with him in finding solutions.
Offer refreshments. Food is always a great way to make people feel more comfortable and makes the gathering less formal.