Advocacy Toolkit

Why Your Advocacy Matters

Policymakers (including Members of Congress and their staff) listen to constituents, especially those "Key Contacts" with whom trusting relationships exist. Coupled with NAA’s strong lobbying presence in Washington, key contacts give NAA its position as the leading voice of the rental housing industry. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, nearly half of the congressional staff surveyed said that a visit from a constituent has a lot of influence, compared to 10% who said a visit from a lobbyist has a lot of influence.

The resources provided through this toolkit aim to give you the understanding, skills, and confidence to engage your policymakers using a range of tactics that are proven effective for building relationships with policymakers.

Before Meetings with Policymakers

Scheduling Meetings

Members of Congress receive a large volume of meeting requests. In fact, the Congressional Management Foundation estimates that the typical House office receives an average of 23 meeting requests each week.

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Top Tips for Success

NAA advocates should keep these tips in mind before, during and after their meetings.

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Tell NAA About Your Relationships with Policymakers

While NAA knows its advocates have influential connections to Members of Congress, we are certain that we only know about the tip of the relationship iceberg.

NAA developed its relationship survey to learn about WHO our advocates know and HOW WELL.

Take the Survey

During Meetings with Policymakers

What to do in Meetings with Policymakers

Regardless of whether you will be conducting your meeting as a team of one or a team of several, assign team responsibilities and play those parts.

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Tips for Effective Advocacy Stories

The ability to tell personal stories is a powerful tool in any advocate’s arsenal. While irrefutable facts are important when making any policy argument, personal stories have the power to connect with and influence people’s perceptions and world views – even policymakers’! Below are key elements to consider when crafting advocacy stories.

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Customizing Your Pitch to Resonate with Policymakers

The more you know about the policymaker you plan to meet with, the easier it will be to identify personal connections and angles that will tie your policy priorities to theirs. Before you meet with any policymaker, compile a basic political/legislative biography that includes information such as political party, committee assignments, leadership positions, and policy priorities. Use that information to connect the dots between what YOU care about to issues your policymakers care about.

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After Meetings Meetings with Policymakers

Following Up After Meeting Policymakers

Following through after a meeting sends the meeting in the direction of establishing or growing a relationship.

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