Bringing Community Leaders To Your Lobby Meeting

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Description
After you've done the research to focus your group's grasstops engagement and plan on bringing your community leaders to your next meeting this training walks you through how to best prepare and provides specific examples of other CCL groups' success stories.
 
Breadcrumb
/topics/engaging-influencers
TOC and Guide Section
 
Initial Research and Communication 
  • Having a local community leader ready to join your meeting can open the door in offices where it’s been  historically  difficult to get a face to face meeting with your member of Congress. With your local team, make a list of community leaders who are persuasive to your members of Congress: local politicians, local heads of significant community organizations, faith leaders, important campus figures and business leaders.
  • Cold calls to local businesses can be challenging (example emails). Start by narrowing down your target list to the community leaders you or your group’s connections know. Are there other local leaders or nonprofits that can make a connection?
  • Prioritize re-engaging with local leaders who may have endorsed or were in the process of endorsing carbon fee and dividend in the past. 
  • If you don’t have enough connections, is there a volunteer who feels moved to initiate calls to your priority list?
  • Refresh yourself about the background of your community leader(s). Check out their LinkedIn profile, social media feeds and company websites so that you can arrive prepared with appreciation and common values. 
  • Consider forming a grasstops team or steering committee to help you manage planning and coordinate with your local liaison to understand the relationship with your member of Congress.
  • Note: It’s a good idea to check the Grasstops Engagement Tracker to make sure others aren’t already pursuing this leader and be sure to coordinate with CCL chapters in your district or state to avoid duplicating effort.
Ways to Incorporate Community Leaders into Lobbying:

Having already built up your relationship with your community leader and confirmed their interest in meeting with your member of Congress (beyond additional significant actions they can take), there are a few different ways you can incorporate your community leaders into a lobby meeting:

  • Add one leader to your CCL lobby team--they participate as part of the team, usually by telling their story or how climate change is impacting what they do. (One group added a community leader by phone just to have the MOC hear their story.)
  • Bring a small group of leaders to a lobby meeting--they replace most CCL volunteers on the team and the meeting focuses on the message from the leaders. They are the primary voices in the meeting, and the CCLers are the backup for them.
  • Assist a small group of leaders to request and hold their own (non-CCL) lobby meeting or hosting a roundtable discussion. CCL provides training for that group as needed, but it isn’t a CCL meeting.
Lobby Meeting Preparations
  • When you add one or more community leaders into a CCL lobby meeting you need to do extra preparation to make sure your invited leaders understand the role they will play, agree to abide by CCL’s core values, and agree to the focus and the "ask" for the meeting. Walk through our approach to asking open-ended questions and practicing listening to remember not to do all of the talking.
  • Start your team’s planning process early, months ahead of when you’d ideally like to host your next in-district meeting. It’s essential to hold a planning meeting for the team, so everyone knows how to work together, what’s expected, and agrees with the meeting plan. Skipping this step is likely to lead to your meeting going astray.
  • Be prepared to manage the time effectively like you would a regular CCL lobby meeting, yet also be prepared for the meeting to be largely centered around the leaders’ experiences.
  • In your agenda, be sure to highlight early and often your community leader’s support (for action on climate change or specifically HR 763) as well as the impacts they face from climate change. 
  • Be prepared to handle unexpected developments. There is always unpredictability in our lobby meetings, either because the congressional office surprises us or because the conversation takes a different path than what we intended. This is especially likely when lobbying with people who are not focused on CCL’s legislation the way our volunteers are. If you are the meeting lead, prepare yourself ahead of time. 
    • How can you bring the meeting back on track if your community leaders start to turn the conversation to other issues? 
    • How can you bring it back if your community leader starts to express concern about the bill? 
    • What if your member of Congress isn’t that interested in the message you are bringing in that meeting? 
    • Walking yourself through some scenarios ahead of time can help you be ready in the moment.
Length
Press play to start the video (32m 34s)
https://vimeo.com/showcase/6209838
Video Outline
To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

CCL Idaho's Story
(2:42)

Initial Research & Communication
(6:20)

Incorporating Community Leaders & Preparations
(9:14) 

CCL Montana's Story
(13:49)

CCL Indiana's Story
(19:28)

CCL Nebraska's Story
(25:59)

Instructor(s)
  • Kay Carne
  • Jim Grimes
  • George Schenetzke
  • Lori & Rob Byron
Downloads

Download PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.

Download the video.
Audio length
Press play to start the audio (32m 34s)
Audio embed code
Audio Outline

 

To skip ahead to a specific section go to the time indicated in parenthesis.

Intro & Agenda
(from beginning)

CCL Idaho's Story
(2:42)

Initial Research & Communication
(6:20)

Incorporating Community Leaders & Preparations
(9:14) 

CCL Montana's Story
(13:49)

CCL Indiana's Story
(19:28)

CCL Nebraska's Story
(25:59)

Instructor(s)
  • Kay Carne
  • Jim Grimes
  • George Schenetzke
  • Lori & Rob Byron

 

Go Deeper
Join the Grasstops Engagement or Business Climate Leaders action teams.
Discussion Topic
To Print
Instructions for printing this page on Community.
Category
Training
Topics
Grasstops Outreach
Format
Audio / Video, Presentation
File Type
Google Slides
Training Resources

Download PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation.