At the ECA pre-conference AESA legislative liaisons, Noelle Ellerson Ng and Leslie Finnan, offered several tips to help prepare people for their advocacy efforts.
Effective advocacy is relationship-based; trust-based, meaning honest, accurate, and credible; knowledge-based; and constituent-based.
- Advocacy is not a one-time thing. It's ongoing. They recommend keeping in contact with legislators on an ongoing basis, instead of just when major issues are breaking.
- If you promise information, be sure to follow-up.
- Clearly state your points when you email or talk to your legislators. You will need to do your homework and be prepared to state your points.
- Keep a level head. Try to truly listen and understand their viewpoints, too. Then consider, how can your message fit into their priorities?
- Invite your elected officials to your schools. There is no better way to tell the school story than to let them see education in action.
- Share stories about the districts that you serve; tell some stories or anecdotes that put faces with the numbers.
- Trust is important. Don't pretend you know something if you don't - but do follow-up with information from someone in your organization who does know the answers to their questions.
- Thank them for their time.
They reminded us that in the end, this is a relationship.
Need help with your advocacy efforts?
AESA's legislative liaisons contact information:
Noelle Ellerson Ng | 703-774-6935 | firstname.lastname@example.org | @noellerson
Leslie Finnan | 703-203-3105 | email@example.com | @lesliefinnan