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Casting your ballot in the voting booth may be the most fundamental of democratic acts, but talking to your elected official -- called lobbying -- is the indispensable next step. Preservationists, like every other group of citizens joined in common cause, have the prerogative and the responsibility to let members of Congress know that the legislation they enact has consequences, positive and negative, for historic preservation goals back home.
The good news is, if you’re making the case for preservation in your community and encouraging others to take action, you already are an advocate. Lobbying calls for the same communication skills, knowledge of preservation and its benefits, and concern for local communities. Other than that, no specific training or experience is required.
This toolkit offers a broad foundation on how to approach this type of advocacy on the federal, state, and local levels. Every person has the ability to be a grassroots lobbyist, and these tips will give you a good place to start.
Note: These tips were adapted from the 2002 edition of A Blueprint for Lobbying which was first published in 1984 by Preservation Action. The first edition was written by Mona B. Ferrugia, edited by Nellie L. Longsworth with Julia Churchhman, Kathryn Nichols, Elle Wynn, and Chas A. Miller III contributing. The 2002 edition was substantially expanded and updated by Susan West Montgomery.