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Pillow Talk - Advocacy Tip #1 - Know Your Stuff

Political advocacy is not a passive pursuit.  Passive-aggressive might work in office politics but this approach fails in the political arena. AATC’s advocacy efforts depend on our members’ active participation.

Joining an AATC Advocacy Team is a great way to be personally engaged in AATC’s government relations efforts. AATC’s newly adopted strategic plan calls for renewing our Advocacy Team (AT) efforts.  Advocacy Teams represent AATC on the frontlines. They are AATC’s eyes and ears, feet and mouths at the local government level.

To help you be an effective Advocacy Team member, each month this year, this column will provide a lobbying tool.  The goal is to provide you with ten timely tips that will give you the confidence you need to take on a municipal advocacy effort.

Tip # 1:  Know Your Stuff

There’s an adage that says never go to a gunfight with a knife! Nothing is more embarrassing than being in a meeting and getting blindside because you did not have the information you needed.

Not to worry! As AATC’s Director of Government Affairs, my number job is to equip you to succeed!

Before you attend city council meetings or meet with an elected official, AATC will give you the policy and political information you need including a brief summary of the issues and how they impact the multifamily housing industry.  AATC staff will also provide you with data on elected officials so you can navigate the political landscape.  You’ll know who AATC’s friends are and, more importantly, who and what influences each elected official.

Your job is to familiarize yourself with the issues and political background information provided.  The more you know, the better you’ll do.

Your goal is to put a human face to an issue.  The most effective lobbyist is a constituent–someone who lives in an elective representative’s district—who is personally impacted by a government action.  Personal votes and anecdotes are more powerful than any professional lobbyist.

Invest the time it takes to learn both sides of an issue.  Have slick one-page infographic is not enough.  Many times, elected officials have professional government staffers that are assigned to our issues.  But remember, you are an expert on multifamily housing.  No one know more about our industry than you do.

Do your homework. Be prepared. Know your stuff.

Perry Pillow is AATC’s Director of Government Affairs. For more information, contact Perry at or call 817-616-0354. this article is a repost from AATC's Dimensions Magazine. View the full article here:

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