Lobbying Do's and Don'ts

<p>As Michigan’s leading statewide business advocacy organization, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is on the job every day, standing up for job providers in the legislative, political and legal process. The Michigan Chamber is the unified voice of approximately 6,800 member employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce of every size and type in all 83 counties of the state.&nbsp; We work for you.&nbsp; And, we hope you will work with us to lobby lawmakers.</p>

As Michigan’s leading statewide business advocacy organization, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is on the job every day, standing up for job providers in the legislative, political and legal process. The Michigan Chamber is the unified voice of approximately 6,800 member employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce of every size and type in all 83 counties of the state.  We work for you.  And, we hope you will work with us to lobby lawmakers.

Lobbying—communicating with your elected officials—is really just having a conversation with them and telling them your story.  As you begin to build a relationship with them, you will feel more comfortable lobbying them on issues.  Here are a few reminders to help you become more effective:

DO’S

  • Do introduce yourself to your elected officials and build a relationship with them.
  • Do refer to them with their title (Representative, Senator, etc.)
  • Do invite them to tour your company and even speak to your employees.
  • Do attend legislative coffee hours in the district and share your concerns on issues with them.
  • Do respectfully write them letters and call them and ask them to vote a certain way on an issue.
  • Do share with them on an issue by issue basis.
  • Do share with them how their vote can impact the local community.
  • Do ask legislators what their position is on an issue.
  • Do ask legislators why s/he voted a particular way.
  • Do admit you don’t know if they ask you a question for which you don’t immediately have an answer.Do follow up with them once you obtain the information.
  • Do thank them for positions they’ve taken consistent with the Chamber’s views.

DON’TS

  • Don’t promise them anything in return for a vote.
  • Don’t threaten, pressure, beg or negatively confront them.
  • Don’t be argumentative with an elected official, but calmly and rationally explain your opinion and why you believe what you believe.
  • Don’t expect them to know everything about every issue.  Sometimes it is important to be a source for lawmakers and help educate them on an issue.
  • Don’t demand immediate meetings, but be flexible with their schedules.
  • Don’t be offended if they cannot meet with you, and ask you to meet with staff instead.