Archive for 'Influencing Legislators & Politicians'

What Does it Take to Get Legislative Staff to Remember Your Information? How to Prevent “Senior Moments” Among Legislative Staff

Those of you who have hired us for our grassroots advocacy workshops know about the prevalence and power of heuristic persuasion techniques, as well as how to combat heuristic decision making on the part of legislators and their staff. Kristina Miler (not Miller) of the University of Illinois is one of the first researchers to examine how “political and legislative elites” use heuristics to recall information presented by constituents. All grassroots professionals and lobbyists should be aware of Miler’s findings.

Heuristics ...

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The Bailout and Persuasion Tactics. . . .or, “If I’ve Learned One Thing, It’s Never One Thing” Part 2

Key Influentials and Mind-Changers

It gets even more interesting when you look at the lawmakers who did change their minds and their reasons why.

Our survey showed that undecided lawmakers are more likely to change their minds if they hear from people they trust. We call those people “key influentials;” personal friends, local elected officials and opinion leaders in the legislator’s district.

At least 10 of the lawmakers who changed their mind and voted “yes” on the second vote said they were influenced ...

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The Bailout and Persuasion Tactics. . . .or, “If I’ve Learned One Thing, It’s Never One Thing” Part 1

I read with interest some blog postings and news accounts of the votes by the U.S. House of Representatives on the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan. Some were straight news accounts, other heralded that the vote results were directly correlated to citizen grassroots input and nothing else. As one who promotes the grassroots persuasion “lifestyle,” you’d think I’d be doing a victory dance at these “insights.” Au contraire, it reminded me how attributing influence success to one tactic is ...

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How to Avoid the Tripping Point and Maximize Your Advocate Hill and State House Visits: Part One

Grassroots advocate Hill visits are a necessary activity for groups who are serious about impacting the legislative process. Why don’t these opportunities create raging grassroots thunder advocates? Why don’t the visits result in converted legislators?

To make an impression with our advocates and legislators, we must go beyond the stultifyingly boring “dos and dont’s” of legislative communications and empower our advocates to influence, rather than present, the organization’s position and their personal story to their legislator. However, many groups stubbornly cling ...

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Are You Over-Relying on Email Advocacy?

Are you over-relying on email advocacy? In this 5-minute long podcast, learn more about how email advocacy should only be one tool in communications with your lawmaker.


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How to Prevent Burnout of Your Most Valuable Advocates

If you have a non-stop stream of enthusiastic grassroots advocates who are willing to repeatedly contact lawmakers when you ask, read no further. If you have advocates who consistently leverage their personal legislator relationships for your cause, read no further.

If you don’t, there’s research that reveals what you need to do to keep them interested and motivated (and it has nothing to do with plaques and awards). The surprising results are based on The Showalter Group’s proprietary research with hundreds ...

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The Most Successful Get Out the Vote Program Tactics

Alan Gerber and Donald Green’s book, Get Out the Vote, is a rigorous, research-based approach to validating various voter registration and GOTV (Get Out the Vote) drives. The authors conducted their experiments over several years in federal midterm elections, state and municipal elections, the 2000 presidential election, and various nonpartisan voter mobilization efforts.

More than 29 findings were ranked on a three-star system. A tactic that received a three-star rating was deemed most effective, meaning that the finding was implemented with ...

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The Influence Tactics of Fortune’s “Power 25”


It is our interest in excellent government relations programs and “best in class” organizations that inspired our second research project with Fortune magazine’s “Power 25.” The first project focused on how they recruit, retain, and motivate their most productive grassroots advocates.

This research seeks to answer a second vital question: “What influence tactics predict success when attempting to gain legislative support”? We believe the answers are vital, because there are competing mythologies about what works in the legislative influence arena.

For example, ...

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Who Is Most Responsive to Get Out the Vote Programs?

Frequent voters are most responsive to GOTV (Get Out the Vote) requests. This is a critical finding for organizations with ballot issues and elections in non-presidential election years.

Target frequent voters for your off-year ballot or special elections. The content of the nonpartisan message does not matter so long as it is not outlandish. Alan Gerber and Donald Green found that telling people “one vote can make a difference” when the election is anticipated to be a blowout is completely ineffective. ...

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Communicating with Congress: Myth vs. Reality

Brad Fitch joined CMF in 2001 as Deputy Director. In addition to assisting in the management of CMF, Brad conducts consulting sessions with congressional offices, leads training programs, and coordinates press inquiries. In addition, he was the managing editor of the 108th edition of Setting Course. Prior to joining CMF, Brad worked on Capitol Hill for 12 years in various capacities including: House Press Secretary, House Committee Communications Director, Senate Communications Director, and House Chief of Staff.

Brad ...

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