Golden Rules for advocates
You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Be polite, be kind, be respectful. Be sure to thank legislators for their time and service. They are volunteers and are only paid $100 a year!
Don’t burn any bridges.
Relationships are essential to effective advocacy. Your opponent on one issue could be your ally on another, so care for your relationships. This is true of legislators but extends to anyone (NH is a small state!).
Anger is the fuel, not the vehicle.
Anger is a natural response when you are passionate about something. Use it as motivation. Remember that you’re more likely to listen to someone who approaches you with respect than someone who is yelling at you.
You are the expert on your story.
You have expertise from your own lived experiences. You are a resource for legislators, who are generalists in their knowledge.
You don’t have to have all the answers.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, that’s okay! Let legislators know you will research and follow up with them.
Celebrate every accomplishment
Sometimes advocacy can be frustrating because policy change is often incremental. Celebrate all your successes, no matter how seemingly small. This helps avoid burnout and keeps you motivated!