RCPA - Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association


21 Tips for a Successful Legislative Affairs Program
or You Can Influence Your Government

  • Make a 1-year public affairs plan, broken down by monthly tasks and goals.
  • Identify what works and what's comfortable for you &your agency - then DO IT!
  • Identify key staff, Board members, supporters who have legislative relationships.
  • Invite key elected officials to join your Board.
  • Don’t forget county and municipal officials.
  • Develop and use printed materials whenever possible.
  • Develop contacts and educate the media so they understand your issues.
  • Work in coalition/collaboration with other local agencies and groups.
  • Make regular contact; don't wait until a crisis hits.
  • Tie issues to the local level whenever possible; "put a face" on the issues.
  • Be sure to say Thanks when a legislator deserves it.
  • Get to know the district office staff.
  • Provide training on crisis management, positive listening for legislators and staff.
  • Arrange for agency tours; let them meet the people behind the statistics.
  • Hold voter registration sessions for staff, clients, and families.
  • Know your legislators' interests, background, and records.
  • Learn how the legislative and budget processes work.
  • Offer elected officials or candidates background info and help on issues of interest.
  • Keep your promises; never hesitate to say, "I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you."
  • Be polite, but firm; never show anger. Always send a follow up thank you letter.


Pennsylvania Community Providers Association 7/00

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