The power of the constituent is undeniable!
Cate Communications, a well respected communication firm in Tallahassee, Florida conducts an annual survey of the Legislative Aides that work for members of the Florida Legislature. They ask participants about the most (and least) effective forms of communication and who has the most influence on the lawmakers.
One of the most enlightening and positive results is that year after year, respondents share that constituents back home in their district are very important in the legislative process. In fact, in the 2015 survey (the most recent available), eighty-six percent of respondents shared that citizens are VERY important. This is great news, and better yet, presents an opportunity for advocates having difficulty getting lawmakers to respond to your phone calls or emails.
So who are these constituents anyway? They are your volunteers, community organizers, civic leaders and in many cases the people you serve. They are the voices in the community that lawmakers want to hear, because they’re also voters and campaign donors.
If you’re in an elected position or the President or CEO of your organization, occasionally lawmakers may look at you as more of a lobbyist instead of a constituent. They expect to hear from you on a regular basis, and assume you’ll be sharing the “company message”. This isn’t a “bad thing”…quite the contrary. You should be sharing this message and sharing it frequently.
However, if you’ve had difficulty getting legislators to listen, the power of the constituent is undeniable. So take advantage of that power and get them engaged in your advocacy efforts. One very effective strategy is to develop an advocacy committee or advocacy team within your city or organization. I highly recommend this so your efforts will not be in vain. Want to learn more? Email me for more details!
Your Partner in Advocacy…Kathy