Grassroots and Local Engagement
June 19, 2015
By Ryan Lowry, Associate Vice President, Constituent Engagement
Elected officials are constantly bombarded with news and opinions from a variety of sources. But at the end of the day, legislators want to be on the right side of their constituents. That is why in-district constituent operations are so important, and will complement your lobbying, paid media, and social media efforts.
When surveyed, staffers on Capitol Hill noted, “Constituents who make the effort to personally communicate with their Senators and Representatives are more influential than lobbyists and news editors.” Locally driven campaigns that really move the needle begin by identifying the right constituent voices who care about your issue and want to weigh in with their elected officials. These local voices add a personal perspective that cuts through the partisan noise of Washington. A robust, local earned media effort—through the voices of your supporters—will help show that your issue has real legs and thereby attract others to the campaign. Complementing these efforts with constituent phone calls, letters, meetings, and one-off encounters will serve to surround legislators with a range of voices and perspectives that communicate genuine passion for issues being debated in Congress.
These efforts to educate, engage, and mobilize constituents cannot happen without a strong, coordinated effort in the district. Navigating the politics within a state or legislative district and finding the right voices to engage can be the difference between winning and losing on your issue. Because when it is time for that elected official to cast a critical vote, he or she will be thinking of one thing only: where do my constituents stand.