Lobbying 101

How to Ensure Your Advocacy Visit is a Success

Tips to Follow

Introduce yourself.

Open the conversation by introducing yourself and telling where you are from. Share that you are also a member of ANCOR.

Make a connection between your operations and the district/state.

Highlight the service providers and number of employees in the member’s state/district. Give a brief overview of the services and supports you provide, as well as the population you serve.

Be concise.

Meetings with members of Congress and staff are often brief. Conveying your messages in a succinct manner will ensure you can cover all the topics in the time allotted, but don’t feel pressured to cover all topics in one meeting if time runs out as you can always follow-up with staff at a later date.

Congressional staff are important too!

If you have a meeting with congressional staff instead of a legislator, please know that they are issue experts and trusted advisors to their bosses. Staff-only meetings usually last longer than meetings with the member and give you the opportunity to go into more detail about our issues. In turn, a staff member will brief his/her boss on the issue. Staff are pivotal in determining whether the legislator will support a policy or not.

Focus on key issues.

Focus on the reason for your meeting, for example focus on the impact of the workforce crisis on your services. Explain the effect the workforce shortage has had on your operations and your ability to provide services. Details and personal stories will help bolster your description of the real impact.

Divide speaking roles among meeting participants.

Before your meeting begins, take time to discuss with your group what roles you want each person to play. For example, one person should begin the meeting and make introductions, one or more people can talk about the workforce crisis and its impact, and one person can be prepared to talk about the legislation and make the ask.

It’s okay to not know all the answers.

If you are asked a question and don’t know the answer, don’t feel pressure to respond right away. Please tell the staff member you will follow up with the answer. You can let ANCOR know to follow up with the office.

Close the deal.

Be sure to end the conversation with a specific request. For example: “Please help us on the continue to be able to provide critical services in our communities by supporting legislation to bolster the direct support workforce. Please support increased funding for home and community-based services.”

Say thanks.

Do remember to thank the legislator and/or staff for taking time to meet with you and let them know that you will follow up. Also, feel free to extend an invitation for them to visit one of your facilities in the district/state or ask ANCOR to follow-up.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

It is illegal to discuss PAC contributions in government offices.

Don’t discuss the PAC or any contributions to the member.

Leave the industry jargon at the office.

Avoid using industry-specific terms or acronyms without explaining their meaning. Don’t assume the office is familiar with our issues.

Keep personal politics out of your lobby visits.

Please remain respectful and remember that despite personal political beliefs, ANCOR is a nonpartisan organization.