The key to effective lobbying is being able to get in front of the right lawmakers or regulatory and policy leaders. However, getting in front of the right people may not always be the easiest thing to do, or could take longer than anticipated. If you are struggling to schedule legislative meetings on your own, here are some tips to help you succeed!
Tip #1: Be Flexible and Open to Virtual Meetings
As you know by this point, lobbying has shifted, at least at some point, to some virtual aspect for most during the pandemic. With more and more lawmakers using and being open to using virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom and Teams for legislative session and committee meetings, they’re also using it to meet with constituents and advocates alike.
While you may prefer an in-person meeting to sit down with lawmakers face-to-face, a virtual meeting may be the best option due to scheduling purposes or the pandemic itself. In 2022, lawmakers don’t need to be in their office to take a meeting. Virtual meetings have given them, and you, added flexibility in finding a common time to meet.
Tip #2: Meetings with Staff are Just as Good
Do not be offended if you can’t get a meeting with a lawmaker and instead meet with a member of their staff. In some cases, and maybe most, meetings with staff members are just as good as meeting with the lawmakers themselves. Lawmakers often look to their staff for advice and recommendations on various issues, so getting in front of their staff could be beneficial to your cause.
Tip #3: Try District Offices
You may be used to meeting with lawmakers during organized hill days which take place at the capitol building. When lawmakers are in session, it can certainly be a busy and hectic day running around from office to office. Trying to pin down a lawmaker during session is not always the easiest thing either.
Meeting in the district instead of the capitol during a busy and hectic time could be a good alternative and lawmakers might have more time for meetings on non-session days.
Tip #4: Know and Build Relationships with Staff
You likely know that every legislator and every legislative office is different than the next. With that in mind, the responsibility of scheduling meetings may vary from office to office. Scheduling may also be the job responsibility of more than one person depending on if you are trying to get a meeting scheduled at the capitol or a lawmaker’s district office. Knowing who to go to and having relationships with staff members is incredibly important in scheduling meetings!