Last month, we had the pleasure of listening to Dr. David Rehr present his Congressional Communications Report, and were left with valuable insights about the ways staff receive, value, and process information. Staff members in congressional offices are often young and new to their roles. As a result, they increasingly value credible and reliable information. Contrary to public perceptions, staffers place little value in the reputation of the person or group seeking to meet them, and even less in campaign contributions. They simply want you to provide reliable and trustworthy information. Regardless of political party, they are more likely to almost always consult constituents, as opposed to lobbyists or the national press.
As someone organizing Lobby Days, what does that tell you? If your advocates are prepared, engaging, and follow-up, they can build relationships and become the most effective outreach tool in your arsenal. 100% of Legislative Assistants said they were influenced be reliable information, and nearly as many said they were influenced by concise arguments and face-to-face meetings. Only 6% of Legislative Assistants said mass-email campaigns swayed them. When visiting Capitol Hill, bring informed and knowledgeable advocates who will follow-up, but make sure that they never pretend to know something they don’t. Staff members are busy; if you can make their lives easier, you can influence them.
- By Jared Payne