How to Lobby Your MLA 101 Do your homework - Laurie Blakemanкод для вставки
How to Lobby Your MLA 101 Do your homework вЂў Make sure you are talking to right level of government. вЂў If you donвЂ™t know or arenвЂ™t sure in which jurisdiction your issue lies, just ask. Most offices will be happy to listen to a brief description of your issue and refer you to the correct level or department. Make sure youвЂ™re talking to right person вЂў If you need individual help with a problem you must contact your own MLA. They have an office and staff to assist their constituents. вЂў Larger policy issues or to address changes in programs and services contact the responsible Minister or Shadow Minister (member of the Official Opposition dedicated to that portfolio). вЂў Always copy your own MLA on any correspondence. It lets them know you have been active and they would be somewhat aware of the issue if you have to follow up with them. They may have additional resources that they can bring to your attention. It also tells whoever you are writing to that someone else is watching. If you want your MLA to pay particular attention to your issue, pay particular attention to your MLA. вЂў If your MLA has a strong history of advocacy on a certain issue, donвЂ™t waste your time and theirs educating them about it. вЂў Find out: 1. What do they know about your issue? 2. What have they said on the record in the media or in Hansard about your issue? вЂў You can search Hansard, the official record of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta at www.assembly.ab.ca or do a search of news files on www.google.ca or any other search engine. By spending a bit of time on research you wonвЂ™t waste your rime of the MLAsвЂ™s educating them on an issue for which they have already done a lot of work. Be clear about what you want вЂў What do you want the MLA to do with the information you are presenting. Is it simply for their information or are you wanting action? What changes do you want to see? What are the possible consequences? Who benefits? Look for duplication of effort Laurie Blakeman, MLA вЂў Page 2 of 2 See if others are working on the same issue. Even a slight change on your angle dilutes the effort. If there are four groups individually pursuing the same agenda they will have less chance of success than as one united group. The government will not fund four different groups to do essentially the same thing and they end up funding none. Identify who you can partner with to push the issue forward. When meeting with your MLA вЂў Offer to provide ahead of time information that you wish to discuss. Keep any information packages short and to the point вЂў Be on time but not really early. вЂў When you book appointment, ask how much time you have. Organize the presentation for 2/3 of that time so you have time for introductions, questions and follow-up. вЂў Bring a copy of the information package with you to give to MLA again (brochures on your organization; one page outline of the problem). DonвЂ™t waste resources by giving DVDs, binders of studies or lengthy reports. вЂў Keep your group to 1-3 people. Each person should have something to do. вЂў MLAs will not chose sides in a sectoral conflict. вЂў Have in place a plan B if you canвЂ™t get what you want. вЂў Ask for advice. This is an easy way to get information and leads. вЂў Give a brief summary of your issue and seek to understand how the MLA views the issue. вЂў DonвЂ™t be afraid to probe what you donвЂ™t understand in the MLAвЂ™s statements. вЂў Offer to answer questions. Offer to follow up with other information. вЂў Never threaten MLAs (I voted for you so youвЂ™d better вЂ¦, or next time IвЂ™d consider voting for you if вЂ¦) вЂў DonвЂ™t pull your punches, but consider the consequences of making an enemy you did not need to. вЂў Be neutral and non-threatening as you want them to know about your issue and feel comfortable and motivated to contact you directly for more information. Remember that although every MLA is different, their first priority is always their own constituents. вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў вЂў Put your MLA on your mailing list and invite them to events such as volunteer appreciations. When inviting your MLA, address them by their name (e.g. Dear _____, or Hello ____). Personalizing the message will grab their attention. Give them a role or a task at your event and, if possible, always put them onstage to bring greetings. Find a champion for your issue. Social networking sites are important, but look at Facebook invites as a poster, not an official invitation. MLAs cannot buy fundraising tickets through constituency budgets.