Activists Outweigh Lobbyists

February 10, 2011
According to a survey of congressional staffers published last week by the Congressional Management Foundation, Members of Congress are more likely to be swayed by concerned citizens who visit, write or call their offices than by the efforts of paid lobbyists.  That's right, citizens have more power than they realize!

Now, this ne
ws isn’t earth shattering, but the survey provides some valuable insight about how crucial the work of grassroots advocacy is to manifest change and about which tactics work best.  For instance, nearly the entire sample of respondents, 97 percent, agreed that personal visits from constituents had “some” or “a lot” of influence on an undecided Member --- more than any other influence group or strategy.

In fact, visits from constituent representatives, like lobbyists, came in second.   And, a close examination of the survey reveals that even personalized letters, e-mails, phone calls and telephone town hall comments were more likely to change a member's mind than a lobbyist's efforts.

The study also explored the type of advocacy that staffers believe is most effective. Turns out that content matters more than medium.  Specifically, staffers indicated that hand-written or personalized notes — even when they are fewer in number — have a bigger impact than form letters and emails.

The point is your lawmakers want to hear from Y-O-U!  They want to know how the growing divide between state and federal medical marijuana laws is affecting you and your family.  They want to which legislation would help their constituents and why. They want to know why changing federal law is important to you!

So, the only question left to ask is: when are YOU scheduled to visit with your Members of Congress?
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