Before you set out to have an impact on any particular issue it helps to have more than just a thumb-nail view of the facts in order to be able to make a case for what you believe.
Whether it’s plain old citizen-lobbying of a local council, or the multi-million dollar corporate variety, good research is the foundation of good lobbying – but good research can require a lot of work.
The problem for elected officials is the huge number of issues that scream for attention. They don’t have the time to follow the nuances of every piece of legislation, but they put their name, reputation and possibly their career on the line with every vote. As a result, good information is invaluable.
The rule is this: do the work for them.
Politicians aren’t super-human and don’t know everything about everything (you probably knew that already), and can’t learn it all. Though as individuals they may know more about various subjects, most of them are forced to be generalists. So part of the job of good lobbying is to be an expert on the issues you want to advocate.
Things that elected officials need to know about legislation or proposals:
- The details of any proposal
- How it changes current law or the status quo
- How those changes will impact their constituents
Without that knowledge, most elected officials can only hope and pray that they don’t accidentaly stumble into a politically explosive situation, (something most of them try to avoid because they want to get re-elected).
Where do they usually find the information they need to make a decision? A good bit of it comes from educated constituents who have done their homework or who offer the benefit of their own expertise.
In other words, it could be you. You’re certainly more of an expert on the things you do and the situations you face every day than most politicians.
Spend time researching and organizing information on the issues you want to impact. Then turn it into a resource for friendly elected officials.
Remember, knowledge is power. Get it and use it.