Advocacy tips for Organizations:
Land Trusts Advocate?! Yes you can! Advocacy is a form of making the case for what you do. It is about building relationships with decision makers and sharing the impact of your work on local communities. In Oregon, land trusts rely on a suite of local, state and federal grant programs to complete land conservation projects. Those programs are usually directed and controlled by elected officials. As public contributors, those leaders should be connected to your work and hear about your success stories.
Building an advocacy program is about building relationships and will help raise the visibility of your work.
It can be as simple as:
Host a tour on a land trust project to highlight landowner voices and provide a tangible connection to your work
Share your success stories
When you make the paper or the local news- share it! Earned media is a great way to pass along what you are doing to serve your community
Invite elected officials to your events
Throughout the year, Oregon land trusts host dozens of events. Take the time to send a personal invitation to your local, tribal or state officials and recognize them at the event.
Attending agency meetings
Show up and prepare comments! Almost always, there is a chance to provide public comment to share about your work
Spend a day in Salem
COLT hosts advocacy days to support you in visiting with elected officials about important conservation programs.
Share a cup of coffee
Reach out to the staff of your federal elected officials and introduce yourself.
Lobbying for Nonprofits
Land Trusts work across geographic and political divides to bring people together around their shared love of land. Our community has a unique voice based Oregon’s natural history and our shared culture of stewardship. Once you have a foundation and relationship with your elected officials, it makes it easier to reach out and ask for help when we need it. When you get into the arena of asking an elected official to take a position on a bill or funding program, you get into lobbying. Know the legal implications—our lobbying resource guide can help.
Advocacy tips for Individuals:
Know your leaders
Learn the officials—federal, state, local and tribal—who serve your community, their roles and perspectives. Get to know their staff, too.
Prepare thoughts ahead of time
Whether submitting written comments, testifying, or picking up the phone, plan your thoughts in advance. Writing a short, simple bullet list of key things—called talking points—you want to address. And stick to the one issue you’re addressing at this time.
Enlist expert advice
Have trouble understanding an issue? Or want advice for what to do about it? Find a government relations colleague or friend, or reach out to a respected organization who is passionate about the issue and ask for help, language, statistics and more.
Treat everyone with respect
When writing and speaking, use titles for federal, state, tribal and local officials. Listen thoughtfully. Be on time. Respect cultures, ethnicities, genders, ages, differing abilities, backgrounds and opinions. Extend common courtesies to other parties, even if you disagree.
Wear a nametag or the badge/sticker of your organization. When you share perspective, tell where you live—so officials know if you’re in the community they serve.
Use your personal story
Nothing sticks like a personal story, and stories are told and remembered. When championing for an issue you care about—share why that matters to you or impacts your life.
It doesn’t need to be the time you disagree or need something when you advocate for what you care about. Pay attention, celebrate successes and express gratitude.
Pick up the phone
It might be intimidating, but it works. Basic scripts are really useful. Here’s a sample. "Hello, my name is [NAME] and I'm from [CITY, STATE]. I'm calling to urge [TITLE] [NAME] to [SUPPORT/OPPOSE] [ACTIVITY] that would [RESULT]. This matters to me because [TELL TWO SENTENCES OF YOUR PERSONAL STORY OF WHY YOU CARE]. Thank you so much for your time."
Make an ask
Be clear about what it is you want. Should they vote a particular way? Call that out specifically.
Thank everyone and follow up after, too!