Engaging elected & public officials

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Northland Semester of Service Training

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Engaging elected & public officials

  1. 1. ENGAGING ELECTED and PUBLIC OFFICIALS<br />
  2. 2. What Is An Elected Official? <br />Government Official: one elected by those individuals who have gone through a public election process, and who are selected by registered voters for a specific term. <br />Agency Official: one that heads a local, state, or federal agency or administrative unit of government. They serve a specific term but are selected for their position by an elected official to implement policies and assist in running the government<br />YSA – Semester of Service Strategy Guide - 2011<br />
  3. 3. Can You Give Me Examples Of Elected Officials? <br />YSA – Semester of Service Strategy Guide - 2011<br />
  4. 4. Why Is It Important To Include Them In My Event? <br />This can provide significant civic learning experiences for youth<br />Help promote your event – the media loves covering officials! <br />Help raise awareness for your issue<br />YSA – Semester of Service Strategy Guide - 2011<br />
  5. 5. How Would We Include An Official In Our Semester of Service Project? <br />Ask them to…<br />Volunteer at an event that is part of your project<br />Come to your school/community center to share with you and the students what they are doing to address the same topic as your project<br />Distribute a media release or public service announcement highlighting your project<br />Make a public statement or write an op-ed encouraging youth participation in your project and service-learning in general<br />Join you in inviting other officials and staff to participate in and/or organize activities related to your project<br />YSA – Semester of Service Strategy Guide - 2011<br />
  6. 6. How Would We Include An Official In Our Semester of Service Project? <br />Ask them to...<br />Host a recognition ceremony at City Hall or State Capitol for SOS participants<br />Present a call-to-action for community children and youth to address your community’s needs through your project<br />Site Visits: <br />Elected officials love to see tangible examples of the impact of public policies and programs<br />Allows them a hands-on look in the community<br />Photo opportunity!<br />YSA – Semester of Service Strategy Guide - 2011<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  7. 7. How Would We Include An Official In Our Semester of Service Project? <br />Issue Briefing<br />This is a chance for experts to present ideas, research, reports & info to others interested in the same issue<br />Local Award<br />Create an award to give to your official for exceptional passion or help for your issue/project – make it a public event<br />Campaign or Town Hall Meeting<br />Attend and ask questions relevant to your concerns<br />Meet with a few select students to discuss what issues the official thinks need the most attention. For example a mayor may know of a rising problem that many citizens haven’t noticed yet, and start your project planning from there.<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  8. 8. How Can This Process Help My Students Learn? <br />Through studying those officials, students learn about levels of government and research skills<br />Through contacting the officials, students learn formal communication skills<br />Through meeting with, or presenting to, those officials, students learn about civic engagement, advocacy, and building professional relationships<br />Through the entire experience, students realize the accessibility of officials, and how government can work with groups and citizens to solve problems<br />YSA – Semester of Service Strategy Guide - 2011<br />
  9. 9. How Do I Even Start The Process Of Approaching Them? <br />Once you’ve picked the topic or issue your project will address, think about those public officials that may be involved in addressing that same issue. Use the example chart shown earlier. <br />Get to know that official’s staff! These people are more accessible to you, they may have been doing some of the research on the issue for the official which could be beneficial for you to learn, and they can help bring you and your group to the attention of the official. <br />YSA – Semester of Service Strategy Guide - 2011<br />
  10. 10. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DO make an appointment: <br />Start with a written letter or e-mail. Follow up with a phone call about 3-4 business days later.<br />In your letter and call, be clear about the purpose of your meeting and who exactly will be attending.<br />Don’t be put off if you are rescheduled or meet with a staff person instead of theelected official. These are busy people! Be flexible.<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  11. 11. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DO your homework beforehand:<br />Prepare carefully and thoroughly. <br />Research the official – know what his/her priorities are and their history with the topic you are presenting.<br />Develop an agenda that everyone with you knows in advance and stick to it!<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  12. 12. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DO stay “on message” :<br />Effective engagement should be narrow in scope.<br />You may have many things you’d like to speak with this person about, but stick to a single issue.<br />With your agenda, plan who is speaking about what. <br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  13. 13. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DO go local:<br />Effectiveness is based on geography – depending on your topic, a school board member may be more appropriate than a legislator. <br />Elected officials value your opinion more if you are a constituent – if you contact someone you or those in your project don’t have the ability to vote for, they will care less about responding to your message.<br />Relate your issue to the community and humanize your case based on your local experience – if you are a constituent of that official, chances are you come from similar areas so this will impact them emotionally and work toyour advantage. <br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  14. 14. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DO make a clear and actionable request:<br />Make a clear, verbal, direct request – for example, “We’d love for you to come to this event____ to_____.” <br />Tell them directly what kind of support you are looking for from them. Do you want them to…<br />Support a bill? (Know the # and status of that bill)<br />Prepare a proclamation?<br />Attend an event? <br />Sponsor an activity? <br />Be a keynote speaker?<br />Establish a time that you will need a response should they not commit immediately. <br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  15. 15. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DO cultivate a relationship with staff:<br />Support staff can often make the difference between success or failure – be polite, compliant, respectful, etc. to reception and other staff to cultivate a positive working relationship with those people.<br />Over time you may be considered a resource to that office for information regarding your cause.<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  16. 16. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DO follow-up: <br />What happens after the meeting is almost as important as the meeting itself! <br />Send a thank you letter that…<br />Expresses appreciation of sharing their time<br />Reinforces the message and/or verbal commitment<br />Supplies any missing information they may have requested from you<br />States any deadlines discussed<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  17. 17. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DON’T go “off-message” or discuss unrelated issues:<br />Deliver a concise unified message. <br />Avoid unrelated topics – this includes digressing yourself, but also watch out for them bringing tangent to the conversation. Keep it on track – use your agenda!<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  18. 18. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DON’T engage in partisan critique or use threats:<br />Stay focused on the merits of your issue – avoid showing disappointment in a position or comment the official may state.<br />Don’t engage in partisan issues or criticisms especially if they have nothing to do with your topic of discussion! <br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  19. 19. Can I Get Some More Details, Please? <br />DON’T get too comfortable:<br />Don’t mistake a courteous reception as license to be disrespectful – maintain titles and posture. <br />Don’t mistake respect for agreement. <br />Don’t mistake concern for your issue as support.<br />American Planning Association – National Community Planning Meeting - 2007<br />
  20. 20. Officials Are There For You<br />Elected and public officials are civil and public servants – they have this position to represent we the people. Don’t be afraid to work with them, that is how the system is expected to run! Do, however, remain respectful, flexible, and professional in your interactions. <br />

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