Meeting with Policy Makers

High Impact Activity, High Time Requirement

 

There’s the saying, “it’s all about who you know.”  When it comes to gaining support for your issue, meeting in person with your legislator can be one of the most effective ways to establish a relationship with them, and through your relationship you’ll be more likely to gain their support.

Remember, constituents are the most important people to have present. 

Before the meeting

  • Plan your meeting, and expect it to last 15-20 minutes.
    • Decide when and where you want to meet: in the district, at their office, at a program site, etc.
    • Make the appointment.  Call the legislator’s office to schedule the meeting, and be sure to state you’re a constituent or group of constituents.  Their schedule may change, so be flexible if you have to reschedule.
  • Decide who will be participating in the meeting, who will lead the meeting, and what stories and information everyone will share, and from what perspectives they will be speaking.
  • Determine goals and key messages for the meeting.
    • What do we want your legislator to understand after the meeting?
    • Gather facts and evidence you will share to communicate your key messages.
  • Be clear on the action you want the legislator to take. What will you ask them to commit to do?
  • Be specific with your “ask.”  You want to ask them to do something specific (for example, vote in favor of an increase in funding for early care and education programs or for implementing a statewide school readiness assessment) so that you can hold the legislator accountable for their votes.
  • Refer to the Think Small Policy Agenda or call the Think Small office for more information on specific policy issues.
  • Gather information about the person with whom you are meeting: What do they care about? Who do you know who knows the legislator personally?  Does the legislator have young children or grandchildren?  Have they participated in any early care and education programs or been involved in the education system?
  • Make or modify a fact sheet to leave behind with the legislator including information about your local community.
  • Arrive on time and leave on time.