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Engaging in Advocacy: How to Get Involved After a Committee Takes a Position
After issuing a report, one of the ways committees can stay involved and advance their policy recommendations is through advocacy. For those committees that want to engage in advocacy work above and beyond the issuance of a report, the Policy Department can help. The City Bar’s ability to advocate for committee positions is directly tied to the level of involvement from committee members, so we strongly encourage committees to consider the following steps to enhance your engagement.
- Create a subcommittee. Assign committee members to stay involved with and continue to follow the issue. This provides a dedicated resource to help with advocacy.
- Promote your work! Now that your report is final, your committee members should circulate it far and wide, to anyone who may find it informative or helpful. Post the report on your social media accounts, circulate it through listservs you belong to, and share it with other organizations that work on the issue. Our social media best practices provides additional guidance for promoting your work.
- Recruit allies. When you are circulating your report, consider whether others might be interested in supporting the measure. Having allies is important. Ask other groups or individuals to issue short memos or letters in support of the measure. This is particularly important if your committee has proposed legislation.
- Gain legislator support. Consider legislators who may be supportive of or interested in your report, or in the case of a bill you are proposing, possible sponsors. Think about your representatives as well as legislators you’ve worked with, who you’ve heard speak at events on related topics, or who you know have sponsored related bills.
- Get creative. Think about other advocacy materials that may help explain your position. In addition to your report, consider creating a short talking points document or one-page summary document. We want to make your issue as accessible as possible. Look for any opportunity to present the problem, personalize the problem and present a solution. Again, this is particularly important if you are proposing legislation.
- Communicate your position. Work with our Communications Department to draft and issue press releases, blog pieces or op-eds about your report to raise awareness and support. You can also produce a podcast on the topic. Let Communications know of publications, reporters or other media sources that should receive such materials so your work is getting to the right audience. City Bar communications pieces should also be broadly distributed by committee members.
- Think beyond the report. Plan a CLE course or educational event that highlights the topics in your report. Creating a public forum where experts, advocates and other interested parties can have an open dialogue on an issue provides an excellent opportunity to educate the profession and public and generate interest. If you are interested in hosting an event or CLE, click here.
- Be prepared and prompt. You may be called upon to answer questions about your report from legislators, the media and other organizations. If we reach out to you with questions, please try to answer in a timely manner, particularly in the case of press inquiries, where deadlines are tight. We rely on your expertise.
- Join us on lobby visits. Particularly when you’ve proposed legislation, we will need members to meet with potential sponsors, explain the proposal and answer technical questions. We can also organize a lobby trip where members of your committee can meet with key legislators to discuss particular bills.
- Keep us informed. Let us know about any developments or outcomes related to the issue. This helps us keep your report and any other related advocacy materials up to date and capitalize on opportunities to further promote your position.