Influencing legislation can seem like a daunting task, but hosting a lobby day at your state capitol or Washington, D.C., with a diverse group of advocates can amplify your message and have a significant impact all in just one day.
This article will cover:
- What a lobby day is,
- When to schedule a lobby day,
- Who you should bring,
- Materials needed, and
- Hosting a virtual lobby day.
What is a Lobby Day?
Lobby days are an opportunity to bring constituents to the state capitol to meet with their legislators face-to-face on behalf of the issues that you choose for them. Anyone involved in the industry can participate in a lobby day, bringing club operators, employees, or grasstops advocates to the meetings.
In a survey conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, congressional staffers overwhelmingly agreed, “Direct constituent interactions have more influence on lawmakers’ decisions than other advocacy strategies.” Greater than 90% of staffers in the survey said an in-person visit from a constituent would have “some” or “a lot” of influence on an undecided legislator. Spending a day at your state house allows your organization to spread your message to many officials, often meeting with dozens of legislative offices in a day.
When Should You Schedule the Lobby Day?
Choosing when to schedule your lobby day is an important part of the planning process. The lobby day’s whole point is to secure meetings with as many legislators (or staffers) as possible, so you will want to plan your lobby day well in advance as elected officials’ calendars fill up quickly.
Your lobby day should also take into account the legislative calendar for your state. Not all states are in session throughout the year, and the legislature needs to be in session for your lobby day to have the most significant impact. Additionally, if you are lobbying on a particular bill or handful of bills, you should try to schedule the lobby day shortly before notable events in the bill’s life—such as hearings or floor votes.