Legislative Advocacy: Definition

Public Affairs Dictionary

What is legislative advocacy?

Legislative advocacy centers around measures to introduce, implement, and iterate on legislation. It can involve small tasks such as working closely with a legislator on the wording of a bill to larger campaigns such as mobilizing thousands of your stakeholders or supporters to contact a legislature by phone about a specific issue.

Direct lobbying is the most common form of legislative advocacy - which involves a series of steps that include reaching out to a legislator, communicating your views on a particular issue, and asking them directly to vote in a way that supports your interests. Meetings with elected officials when accompanied by a large group, a form of direct lobbying, have proven to be effective and increase the likelihood of securing time with particular legislators.

When engaging with legislators, effective legislative advocacy involves different strategies for different states. In order to make an impact on an issue you care about in one state may require a different approach in another state.

How does legislative advocacy relate to public affairs?

Legislative advocacy is the most direct way for public affairs teams to cause change in government policy. This includes helping a legislator introduce a bill that could help your organization or working with legislators to stop a bill that could harm your organization. Read more about three ways to get ahead when working with legislators to introduce a bill if your organization has an issue they would like addressed with new legislation. The first method is to collect diverse constituent input, facilitate bipartisanship, and identify potential cosponsors.

Engaging with legislators has become easier with the presence of social media as elected officials use the medium to announce policy positions and discuss issues with constituents. Several key strategies can be used to engage legislators on the issues you care about.

An organization should actively identify and target members of Congress and legislative champions using data.

Public affairs professionals should have modern software built for them. Request a demo today to learn why.