One of the first rules of thumb when it comes to building the relationship is you have to offer something before you can ask for something. The following strategies will go a very long way in developing that relationship:
- How can I help you? A simple question that means a lot.
- If you’re trying to influence a politician, during campaign season, help them get elected by walking a precinct together, hosting a fundraiser or waving signs on Election Day.
- Look for opportunities for legislators to interact with your constituents, or the people you serve.
- Invite them to tour your facility or host a roundtable where they can talk with your BOD and more importantly, the people you serve.
- Become a trusted and valued resource. A common misconception is that lawmakers are experts on everything and every bill they sponsor or vote on. The reality is this just isn’t true. They rely upon their staff, the committee staff and trusted resources to help educate them. So if you have professional expertise on a specific subject matter, let them know and offer to be a resource when they need information. Once you’ve developed a relationship, you’ll become a trusted friend and ally they can contact for help and advice.
- Support one of their priorities and offer to help them advance it anyway you can before you ask them to support one of yours. Remember…it’s about building trust.
Offering to help is a great step to start building a relationship that can last well beyond the political arena.
Your Partner in Advocacy…Kathy