How to Lobby

Successful grassroots advocacy requires telling a story to the right people and at the right time in the process. Successful grassroots advocates know how to localize and personalize their story, and they coordinate their story with other like-minded individuals and entities.

Every city has interesting stories to tell. Stories about the services, solutions, and partnerships provided to meet local needs and respond to unique city circumstances for efficient, cost-effective ___________ (parks, water, police and fire protection . . . fill in the blank with any city service!). By explaining the local impact of state and federal legislation, city officials can educate while they advocate for their city.

To successfully tell your city story, it’s important to create a culture of enhanced public engagement. This requires a focused effort to educate state and federal lawmakers, the media, and the public about the services, solutions, and partnerships found in your city.

Take these important actions:

  • Step 2: Educate while you advocate. Don’t assume that state and federal lawmakers understand the local impact of every bill. Contact your state legislators and Congress members, and explain the local impact—both positive and negative—of state or federal legislation. Find contact information for your state legislators, and members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
  • Step 3: Relentlessly defend your city. Defend the ability of your city’s residents to identify local needs and solutions through your city’s duly-elected government structure.
  • Step 4: Continuously Build Relationships. Whether it be with your state lawmakers, federal legislators, local business community, or county and other regional groups, build coalitions and develop common interests with interested parties throughout the year for effective advocacy when it is needed the most.

Tell Your City Story: An advocacy guide for Minnesota cities provides more great ideas and tools to help cities of any size become more effective in telling their city story.

View the advocacy guide (pdf)