Becoming a Successful Advocate
The more you know about being an advocate, the more effective you will be. Below are a few tips on how you can prepare yourself to be a successful advocate.
1. Know your basic facts
The subject at hand is the single-most important aspect that an advocate must know. Before you begin advocating, ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the substance of the legislation or the nature of the project that I am supporting or opposing?
- Why is it so important to UWG and higher education in Georgia?
- What happens if the legislation passes or the project is funded?
- What happens if the legislation does NOT pass or the project is NOT funded?
- How does it pass?
- How much does it cost?
We will provide you with the information that you need to know about an issue or a project. You can contact a member of the University Advancement staff whenever you have any questions about legislation and how it will affect UWG and higher education in Georgia. We are here to help!
2. Be organized.
Organization is an important part of being an effective advocate. You want to be able to present your legislator with the all of the necessary information in the short amount of time that he or she may have available. This is why being organized is so crucial. Whether you are advocating by telephone, letter, e-mail or in person, we believe that you can be a terrific advocate if you follow these simple rules:
- Be brief. Your legislator may not have much time on her hands, so present her with only the necessary points of the legislation for which you are advocating.
- Be clear and accurate. When communicating with your legislator, be sure that you speak clearly about your points, and of course, be sure that you are accurate on the information that you are presenting. If you are not sure about a question that your legislator may ask, do not pretend to know the answer. Tell your legislator that you are unsure of this answer, but that you will go home and research to provide him or her with the sought after answers. Then, be sure to actually do the follow-up research that you promised.
- Be timely. This is usually the most difficult concept for the beginning advocate to understand. The University Advancement staff is here to help you work this out.
- Be persistent and persuasive. It is important that you get your point across, so have confidence in yourself and our institution and refuse to give up. There is no need to be argumentative or demanding; this type of approach will likely not encourage your legislator’s support. Of course, please never make promises or threats. Be grateful. Thank your legislator for any votes or support on issues that you have advocated for, and congratulate your legislator on his or her personal and professional achievements.