Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Advocacy Tips: Diversity is Beautiful, so USE IT!

Unlike the not-so-diversified debt “super committee” (9 of the 12 members are middle-aged white males), the United States is truly a mixture of demographics (old, young, male, female, black, brown, gay, straight; you name it, we’ve got it). From a legislators-eye-view, the prominent demographics in their district or state impress upon relevant issues, community goals, and, most importantly, voting trends. Here at Advocacy Associates we stress the importance of being a constituent and the strength it adds to your voice when communicating with your legislators (you vote for them, and therefore they care). Just as Members of Congress care about what you think as a constituent, they also care about what constituents think as part of a larger demographic within their district (appealing to large groups equals more votes). This is something to take into consideration as you develop your messaging strategy. In addition to discussing how an issue affects you personally as a constituent, paint a picture of how this issue is important to a large number of their constituents by making some observations based on demographics. For example, if you want your Member of Congress to support funding for a health-related program and your district has a large population of senior citizens, frame your messaging to reflect the legislation’s positive impact on the elderly, and vice versa if your district is dominated by younger people. You’ll be impressed at how Member’s (and their staff’s) ears perk up when you mention a demographic that is relevant to their district. 

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