Today, roughly 5% of bills introduced to congress are signed into law. It takes lots of effort and consistency just to get a bill introduced, so imagine the level of dedication it takes to truly create change through policy.
However, it’s also important to recognize that change is in your hands in a democracy, so you should push for any public policy that you’d like to see changed. But how can you make it happen?
These tips will help you set the direction of policy initiatives by using your influence and resources.
Understand the Policy Thoroughly
Before a policy change can take place, you need to truly understand what you’re advocating for. Policy awareness is rare in this day and age, even among people who are advocating for something.
Do as much research as you can into the topic so that you understand all sides of it. While you likely have your leanings, start with an unbiased approach that just involves data and fact-finding. You’ll be better able to speak about the issues once you’ve studied the history of it, case studies of where this policy change has worked in other areas, and what kind of research has gone into the potential change.
Communicate the Main Points
Before you can set forth any detailed advocacy strategies, you must be able to communicate the main points. Once you understand the policy initiative in detail, you need to be able to teach it to someone who knows nothing about it.
This is the true test of how well you know the information and is also a necessity when it comes to conveying information to voters. Learn to communicate the broad strokes of the issue that affect people the most. This both grabs people’s attention and lets them know why a specific issue is worth their attention.
Have Answers for Points of Contention
Think of policy advocacy the same way that you think of sales. Any good salesperson must be able to not only express the merit of their product but also must have answers to any objections and pain points. The same applies to the policy.
Once people hear a new piece of policy, they’re likely to have natural objections or reservations. Make sure that you have thoughtful answers and solutions for these issues so that you can gain people’s trust and show them why the policy is still a great idea. Become skeptical and mistrustful if you try to sell a piece of policy as flawless.
Being able to speak to these concerns, rather than simply brush them aside lets them know that you have good intentions for enacting change, and aren’t just trying to arbitrarily grow your number of supporters.
Raise Awareness Through Content
Content is king right now, so you need to make sure you’re creating content that informs people about the policy that you’d like to change. There are several different content strategies you can employ, including:
- Penning well-researched blogs with valuable links and keywords
- Regularly posting to the best social media outlets
- Create informative video content that uses data, facts, and figures
- Publishing infographics that hit the nail on the head with bullet points
- Using direct mail campaigns that communicate with people in their homes
- Building an e-mail list and working on e-mail marketing campaigns
- Marketing to people through SMS strategies
Make certain that each piece of content that you create conveys value to people. This way, they’ll gladly open and receive it, and you will know that you are answering people’s questions thoroughly in the shortest amount of time. Choose the marketing strategies that your demographic of voters is likely to engage with as well.
Use analytics and other measurements to track your campaign so that you are getting the greatest return on investment (ROI), engagement, and overall value each step of the way.
Hold Panels and Information Sessions
The more face time you get with people, the better. Hold panels and information sessions that give people plenty of information and allow them the opportunity to ask questions and interact. This builds a sense of community, which is the heartbeat of the democratic process at the end of the day.
Be sure that you’re bringing experts, policymakers, and candidates out to these sessions so that they can put the meat on the bones when explaining concepts. This builds trust and also creates an avenue for the next steps to be taken.
Develop Relationships With Policymakers
Finally, make sure that you’re always in touch with policymakers who can help you enact change directly. The key is to establish these relationships early in the process and nurture them, rather than only sending messages and touching base during election season or when there are pressing issues.
Set your calendar to attend policy sessions, campaign stops, town hall meetings, and any other event that you can, as often as possible. Once you have a rapport with policymakers, they’ll be receptive to information that you share, which helps you educate them on issues and pose solutions.
This relationship between constituents and policymakers is the lifeblood of government, so never be afraid to make your voice heard.
You can learn more about the art of lobbying here: https://lockhartgrouputah.com/what-is-direct-lobbying/
Change the Course of Policy Initiatives
The tips above are helpful anytime you want to direct the course of policy initiatives. Make your goals clear, communicate with people early and often, and stay consistent. From there, the sky is the limit for what you can accomplish.
Begin with these tips and check out our other articles related to government issues of every variety.