Monday, July 20, 2009

The SPIT Technique for Advocacy

I'm a big fan of acronyms as, frankly, they're the only way I remember things (I used to be better about remembering, but something has happened to me in the last few years). Knowing that people of my generation may have the same problem, I figured it would make sense to share this with you and see if it's useful. So here goes!

S is for Specific. When developing a message for legislators and their staff, you should be very clear about what you specifically want them to do. It might be a legislative ask, like sponsoring a bill, or it may be a relationship building ask, like attending an in-district meeting. Whatever it is, have a goal for your communication. Otherwise, you won't get the attention you deserve.

P is for Personal: Advocates bring a great deal to the influence equation including, perhaps most importantly, their personal stories. Telling an elected official why a proposed policy change is important to you personally can have a tremendous impact.

I is for Informative: Legislators and staff are looking for solid, reliable information and citizens are some of the best sources because they know how a certain policy change will impact people on the ground in the legislator's district. The most important thing to remember about the "informative" rule is that if you don't know the answer to a question, just say "I don't know, but I'll get back to you" -- and then do it!

T is for Trustworthy: It hopefully goes without saying that you should never lie to a legislator. Consider taking your "trustworthiness" a step further by actually telling them about what the other side has to say about an issue. They're going to hear it anyway -- wouldn't it be better coming from you?

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