Building a Relationship with your Legislator, Step 4
*This posted was updated in January 2019.
As a social worker and a constituent, it is important to establish a relationship with your legislators as they make decisions on your behalf- whether it’s to continue funding a program that serves your clients or funds your current position or a policy decision that impacts how your clients are served. NASW-NC is here to help you develop a relationship with your legislator. We are introducing a new series to be used to help you establish that relationship and a tool we hope you will use as you plan to join us in Raleigh for Social Work Advocacy Day.
Advocate And Appreciate: Don’t Forget to Say Thanks!
Step 4: Follow Up. After visiting your legislator in person- say thanks and push your message one more time.
You’ve done your part to make Advocacy Day successful: you emailed and called in advance and met with your elected official on Advocacy Day. Hopefully you found common ground for discussion with him/her and have forged a positive relationship for future opportunities to engage. Now comes the icing on the cake: saying thanks!
It sounds like a no-brainer: of course you’d express appreciation for anyone who extended themselves on your behalf, right? However, many people forget to follow up with a simple “Thank you” within a few days of an important meeting. Your courtesy and appreciation of the time extended to you by your legislator will go a long way to make a positive impression and ensure the same attention to you the next time you contact his/her office! This is also a good time to invite your legislator to your agency or school.
Not sure what to say or the proper format? Below is a sample letter you can tailor for your use. Don’t forget to check for spelling and grammar, and make sure you have the correct contact information to mail your letter. An emailed “thank you” is better than nothing, but a neatly typed and well formatted note will make you remembered! Keep in mind this is a SAMPLE letter. You may not have discussed a particular bill but rather social issues important to you.
I would like to thank you for meeting with me during the Social Work Advocacy Day hosted by the National Association of Social Workers, North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) on (insert correct date). I appreciate the opportunity to share our position on (bill name and number or issue discussed). I hope we can count on your support.
As we discussed, (recap BRIEFLY the information you discussed during your meeting).
Once again, thank you for your time. I hope that you will co-sponsor and vote in favor of the bill. If I can provide you with additional information on this or any other issue from the social work perspective, please contact me at (your number) or our NASW-NC lobbyist Kay Castillo at 919-828-9650. NASW and I look forward to working with you on this issue.