Lobbying Do's and Don'ts


  • DO Identify yourself as a specialist in the field of sexual assault.
  • DO learn members' committee assignments and where their specialties lie.
  • DO present the need for what you are asking the Member to do. Use data or cases that you know.
  • DO tell what survivors need to have laws work better for them.
  • DO relate situations in their district.
  • DO tell how you are utilizing funds now.
  • DO ask the Representative or Senator's position and why.
  • DO tell what proposed legislation could do to help your clients.
  • DO — in case of voting records — ask why they voted a particular way.
  • DO show openness to the knowledge of counter-arguments and respond to them.
  • DO admit when you don't know. Offer to try to find out the answer and send information back to the office.
  • DO spend time with a Member whose position is against yours. You can lessen the intensity of the opposition and perhaps change it.
  • DO spend time developing a relationship with the Members' staff.
  • DO use the Legislative Agenda in your lobbying visit.
  • DO show how your program works together with those addressing related issues.


  • DON'T overload a visit with too many issues.
  • DON'T confront, threaten pressure or beg.
  • DON'T be argumentative. Speak with calmness and commitment so as not to put them on the defensive.
  • DON'T overstate the case. Members are very busy and you are apt to lose their attention if too wordy.
  • DON'T expect Members to be specialists. Their schedules and work loads tend to make them generalists.
  • DON'T be put off by smokescreens or long winded answers. Bring Members back to the point.
  • DON'T make promises you can't deliver.
  • DON'T shy away from meetings with legislators whose view is opposite your own.
  • DON'T be offended if a legislator is unable to meet and requests you meet with their staff.