Using grassroots to get results in washington


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Using grassroots to get results in washington

  1. 1. Using Grassroots to Get Results in Washington. How members of an association can play a role in Lobby Day
  2. 2. What is Grassroots lobbying? <ul><li>Grassroots lobbying uses the strength of the members of an association to convince Members of Congress that the issue being advocated by the association is relevant and important to voters and constituents in the Member’s home district and state. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why use Grassroots lobbying? <ul><li>Grassroots lobbying is by far the most effective form of lobbying. </li></ul><ul><li>Members of Congress value the views of their constituents, the people in their district and state, more than any other viewpoint. </li></ul><ul><li>An effective grassroots lobbying campaign can favorably move an issue to the front of the Member’s agenda. </li></ul>
  4. 4. When should Grassroots lobbying be used? <ul><li>Grassroots lobbying can be used at any time, but is most effective when done in conjunction with an association’s Lobby Day or Washington lobbyist’s efforts. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What makes a Grassroots lobbying campaign effective? <ul><li>A grassroots lobbying campaign is effective when it supplements the message being delivered by the Washington lobbyist and the Lobby Day participants. </li></ul><ul><li>The grassroots lobbying message needs to describe the issue in a way that personally affects the constituents in the Member’s district and State. </li></ul>
  6. 6. How does effective Grassroots lobbying work <ul><li>Association members can effectively lobby in support of their Washington lobbyist or Lobby Day participants by sending e-mails and faxes as well as making phone calls on the same day that their Washington lobbyist or Lobby Day participants are meeting with Members of Congress. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Grassroots lobbying using e-mail <ul><li>Until recently, e-mail was not an effective way of lobbying because Congressional Members and staff receive so many e-mails daily that many of the e-mails are not read. These days, however, every Member of Congress and their staff has a Blackberry, so they are constantly reading their email. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Grassroots lobbying using e-mail, cont’d <ul><li>Fortunately, as long as you know your Congressional contact’s first and last name, you can send them an e-mail. </li></ul><ul><li>House e-mail : </li></ul><ul><li>First name.last </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. </li></ul><ul><li>Senate e-mail : </li></ul><ul><li>First name_last name@senator’s last </li></ul><ul><li>e.g. Joe_Smith@Frist.Senate.Gov </li></ul>
  9. 9. Grassroots lobbying using e-mail, cont’d <ul><li>Things to remember when sending e-mail to Members of Congress and staff: </li></ul><ul><li>Stay on message. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Put relevant bill name and/or number in subject line. </li></ul><ul><li>Be respectful. </li></ul><ul><li>Sign e-mail with address and zip code. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Grassroots lobbying using faxes <ul><li>In the old days, grassroots lobbying consisted of writing letters to Members of Congress, putting a stamp on it and mailing it. </li></ul><ul><li>Now, however, mail does not go directly to the Members of Congress. It goes to a facility in Virginia where it is radiated and does not reach Congress until about 2 weeks after it’s originally mailed. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Grassroots lobbying using faxes, cont’d <ul><li>To get letters to Members and staff instantly, association members should use their fax machine. </li></ul><ul><li>You can get a Member’s fax number by going to and looking up the Representative or Senator’s name. You can also use this website to find the name of the staff person to whom you should send the fax. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Grassroots lobbying using faxes, cont’d <ul><li>Things to remember when sending faxes to Members of Congress and Staff: </li></ul><ul><li>Sending it to a specific staff person is better than sending to the Representative or Senator himself. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it to one page, be specific and stay on the issue. </li></ul><ul><li>Include the name of the bill or bill number. </li></ul><ul><li>Write the letter on your company’s letterhead, sign it and include your address and zip code. </li></ul><ul><li>Follow-up with the staff person to whom you sent the fax to make sure they got it. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Grassroots lobbying using the phone <ul><li>The phone is still the most personal way to reach Members and Staff. Unfortunately, it’s not the most effective way of getting your point across. </li></ul><ul><li>When an association member calls a Congressional office they will most likely speak with the office receptionist who will take a message and promise to pass it on the appropriate person. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Grassroots lobbying using the phone, cont’d <ul><li>The most important things to remember when calling a Congressman’s office about an issue are: </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you tell them you are a constituent. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell them the name and number of bill you are calling about. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell them why you support or oppose the bill. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it brief. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be argumentative. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank them in advance for the Congressman’s support or opposition. Politeness counts. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Using the newspaper as a tool of grassroots lobbying. <ul><li>Another way that association members can participate in grassroots lobbying is to use the Congressman’s local newspaper as a platform to reach him. </li></ul><ul><li>Members of Congress and their staff read their local newspaper daily because they need to know what is going on at home while they are in Washington, DC. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Letters to the Editor and Op-Ed Pieces. <ul><li>A well organized “letter to the editor” campaign whereby several people write letters to the editor on the same issue, in a Congressman’s local paper can be very effective. </li></ul><ul><li>When a Member of Congress or their staff see a large number of letters in support or opposition to an issue in their own local paper, he knows what the people back home --- the people that got him elected --- think about the issue. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Using Grassroots to support Lobby Day. <ul><li>A grassroots lobbying campaign, done in conjunction with a Washington Lobby Day drives the message home to Members of Congress and staff. </li></ul><ul><li>The more they hear the message, but in a different way, the more they will understand it. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Using Grassroots to support Lobby Day, cont’d <ul><li>The value of grassroots lobbying pays off when members of an association, who are located in a Congressman’s district or state, contact the Congressman on the same day that a live person visits the office and with the same message as that person is saying. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Using Grassroots to support Lobby Day, cont’d <ul><li>As an example of how this works, let’s say that participants in Lobby Day are meeting with Congressman Smith. </li></ul><ul><li>Association members from Congressman Smith’s district, and members from outside his district but still from his state, would fax, call and e-mail Congressman Smith’s office on the same day and with the same message as the participants in Lobby Day. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Questions? Contact: <ul><li>The C. L. A. Group, LLC </li></ul><ul><li>7903 Flamingo Dr. </li></ul><ul><li>Alexandria, VA 2306 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>(202) 262-5843 </li></ul>