In the midst of the campaign season, we’re all eager to see which new faces will be taking office in 2019. We want to share with you some tips for getting ahead so that when they take office next year, you have a leg up, and hopefully some great relationships that will help you advocate for your organization.
While we don’t yet know who has won, we recommend making a plan to reach out sooner rather than later. In a few short weeks, the election will be over. So the months just after the election offer a window of opportunity since you already know who will be in office, but the session hasn’t started. Plan to build important relationships NOW, before the session starts. Once they hit office, there’s going to be a swirl of activity as they get settled and get down to business. By then, everyone will be vying for their time and ear.
Here’s what you can do now to help your advocacy initiatives in 2019:
- Do research on the backgrounds and interests of newly elected legislators. Check them out on Google, YouTube, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Most of them established websites during their campaigns and, as public figures, had articles and editorials written about them. Find whatever you can. Create a spreadsheet or database to keep track.
- Consider your allies and work together. Turn LinkedIn into your new best friend. Here’s a great how-to to help you get started. Find friends and ask for introductions to those officials you don’t yet know.
- Schedule some time to brief a new legislator on issues important to your industry. You only need 15 or 20 minutes. Make it easy for them by going to their office. Face to face is the key here. You can be brief, friendly, and let them know why you are excited that they will be in office. This is NOT the time to ask for anything. You are here to build a relationship for the future.
- Make sure to bring a one-page leave behind. While you may have the most compelling organization or personality in the world, you cannot expect them to remember everything about your visit. Make sure that you have a solid leave behind so that they can file it for your next conversation. And, be sure to include it in your follow up thank you email so that they have a couple key points on file.
- Make these connections before you need to ask for something. It bears repeating: Relationships rule in this world. You don’t need to muffin basket them every time, but do go in with the intention of learning what is important to them and issues you may have in common. Make a plan to build on the connection, learn what you can do to help them, and make this the beginning of a beautiful friendship.