If You Build It, They Will Come: Relationship-Building Tactics

How do you get your lawmakers to become allies for our mission and policy efforts? 

hero_image_alt_text===Feet standing around during a meeting
thumbnail_alt_text===Feet standing around during a meeting

In truth some may never, but many will if you take the time to employ a few basic strategies to build your relationship with them, and thereby strengthen the power of your constituent voice. 

  • Connect.  Write, call, or visit to introduce yourself and share what’s important to you.  It’s helpful to check their webpage first to see what their platforms and issues are so you can acknowledge overlap.
  • Build your credibility. Prepare to talk about You’re the Cure’s policy issues.  Read our issues alerts and talking points closely and look for where you can draw a personal connection.  Be ready to state why you care.
  • Meet.  Book an appointment specifically to address a policy issue important to you, and share why you have a personal interest.  Be clear about what you want from them in terms of support. Meet their staff as well, be gracious and appreciative of the opportunity to meet with them if your representative is not available, learn their names and titles.
  • Create photo ops.  Take advantage of face-to-face time to get a quick pic with your legislator or their staff and post to social media with our and their hashtags.  They love the exposure - you’ll make a real fan of them.
  • Thank. Always write a quick thank you note after a visit, including meetings with staff.  It seems like a little thing but it helps get you noticed. (Be sure to spell names correctly!)
  • Reconnect.  Check back periodically, and remind them of past interactions.  Repeating your message IS effective – never assume once is enough, even if they have pledged support for the issue.  Look for excuses to connect back with them: 
    • Take a neighbor from the same district to meet them
    • Bring a new data-point on a key issue to the table, or provide an update on the status of a bill
    • Call or write to ask if they have any new concerns about the issue that we may be able to address
    • Call or write to thank them for their yes vote on our issue
    • Share new issues expected on our agenda

Try to connect at least every 4-6 months, and much more frequently when there is an active policy during session that we need action on. 

Be the nicest squeaky wheel they have ever met, and they just may become our ally! That’s the way to make your personal power as an advocate really count.

We are your partner in this endeavor!  We can help you shape your message, provide the most current fact sheets or updates on policy status, and help craft answers to questions or concerns that are raised. 

By all means, do let us know about the contacts you make specific to our policy issues, and any outcomes from the interaction.  We appreciate your efforts and love to hear from you.

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