HOW TO BE AN ADVOCATE AND LOBBY
FOR YOUR CAUSE
Advocacy can be taught and learned. What’s more, anyone can benefit from knowing how to practice it.
Whether you’re lobbying a state legislature to enact a new law, advocating for scheduling changes at your college or church or synagogue, or making a case to your boss for a raise, the same principles of advocacy apply.
For decades, JB has been a successful advocate for a wide range causes, organizations, groups, and individuals. In How to Be an Advocate and Lobby for Your Cause, he explores the many nuances of these essential principles:
- Begin by building your expertise in your subject matter, the field, and the relevant issue.
- Know exactly what you want—and be able to articulate it clearly.
- Do your homework to discover who the actual decision-maker is.
- Learn as much as you can, in advance, about each person you pitch.
- The most important part of advocacy is showing up, fully present and well prepared, in a variety of people’s offices.
- When someone influential offers you a meeting, say yes, even if it means inconveniencing yourself or rearranging your schedule.
- When meeting with someone as an advocate, always dress like you’re walking into a courtroom.
- In advocacy, always tell the truth. Anything less can destroy your credibility.
- Start each meeting with a soft ask—a clear statement of why you are there.
- End each meeting by making the ask again—but this time be clear, direct, and unequivocal.
- If you’re new to advocacy (or an introvert), shadow an experienced advocate for a few days, or ask them to mentor you.
- Sometimes you will need to find inside allies to work with. Sometimes you may need to align with other outsiders. And sometimes you may need to break away from other advocacy groups and start your own.
- Advocacy isn’t just about getting what you want. It’s also about helping others get what they want or need.
- Advocacy doesn’t just involve getting what you want today. It’s even more about building long-term relationships for getting something else you may want later on.
Participants come away inspired, empowered, informed, and well equipped to advocate for any cause they care about.