To determine how to best approach decision-makers, it is important to conduct "pathways of influence" research. Knowing answers to questions like "Who are
their donors? What is their personal connection to our issue? What are their pet issues? What are their personal ambitions?" will help you better understand key
lawmakers, find common connections, or discover ways they will benefit when you achieve your policy goal.
Decision-maker advocacy includes the traditional definition of lobbying, but can
also include influencing decision-makers through:
- Lawmaker peers (sign-on letters, legislative caucuses, multiple sponsors for legislation)
- Municipal leaders (sign-on letters to state officials in support of issue)
- Organizational endorsements
- Their own political parties
Professional lobbyists are an important part of an advocacy campaign as well.
Lobbyists can help you understand and navigate the legislative process, facilitate your introduction to key lawmakers and staff, and help you re-position your issue
as the political climate changes.
While working to influence key decision-makers to support your issue, do not forget those who are already supporting you! Make
sure your allies know about upcoming campaign actions and create opportunities for your allies (and potential allies) to receive recognition for their support.