Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Advocacy Tips: Keep Up the Spirit of Giving Thanks

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, or, as I like to call it, “Fatty Pants Day.” That means it’s time to give thanks for all those things you take for granted on a daily basis, like a good pair of stretchy pants (and I suppose your family, friends, a roof over your head ... ). As you’re making your list of things to be thankful for (I’m not the only one that actually writes out a physical list, right?), don’t forget to include your Members of Congress.

Okay, maybe politics is the last thing you want to be thinking about on Turkey Day, but there’s an important lesson here. Advocates spend most of their time urging their legislators to take action on important issues (as they should), but you can get so caught up in the “ask” that you forget to appreciate what your Congressman might have already done to support your cause. Maybe in the past they voted with your issue or made a statement in support of your organization. When you’re building a relationship with a Member of Congress and their staff, “thank you” can go a long way. Just as you expect them to understand and appreciate the good work your organization is doing, you need to in turn recognize and thank them for their work on your issue, even if they aren’t one of the biggest champions of your cause. If the congressional office knows you took the time to learn their history on the issues, they will be more willing to return the favor, and that’s an important part of building a relationship with that Member.

I officially pardon you from your tireless advocacy endeavors for tomorrow, but once you wake up from your tryptophan coma and the holiday is over, remember to start thanking your legislators!

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