Take Credit for Your Advocacy Success
We're working on an exciting new Ambassadors portal to set goals, track progress, and share successes with your fellow ambassadors. In the meantime, we encourage you to share stories here (or email your regional lead) and we'll transfer them to the new portal when it is available.
Why share your stories?
Even if advocacy is already routine for your organization, we’re eager to help you take credit for advancing policies that support conservation nationwide. In recognizing you, we hope to inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Meanwhile, as Land Trust Alliance lobbies in DC, it's critical for us to know about the conversations you’re having back in the district.
A Point System that Offers You Alternatives
The traditional model to become an "ambassador" is to conduct a meeting, site visit, and follow-up communication for your rep and each senator, every 2 years. If that simple process works for you, great! (You can still report your actions here and ignore the points.) But, some ambassadors want alternatives to this one-size-fits-all approach. The details may change, but our tentative system assigns relative point values to a wide range of activities, explained below. Collecting 40 points is an alternative way to achieve "ambassador" status and get credit for going above and beyond. We welcome your feedback.
Take Credit for Building Relationships that Help us All
Meeting with Senator/Rep = 3 points
Schedule a face-to-face meeting with one of your pledged senators or representatives, either on Capitol Hill or at their district office. Please share what you discussed and how they responded.
Meeting with staff = 2 points
Schedule a face-to-face meeting with staff for your pledged senators or representatives, either in DC or home in the district.
Site visit or land trust event = 5 points
Invite your senators or representatives to tour protected land, visit your office, or attend a land trust event to show the importance of conservation to the community. See our guide and examples. Please share photos and other materials from your event.
Communicate via press, newsletter or social media = 2 points
Publicly thank your senator or rep for a legislative action or event attendance via a press release, newsletter article, Facebook post, or tweet. When using Twitter, be sure to "mention" their handle, include #landconservation and follow @ltalliance to re-tweet important posts.
Site visit/event for staff = 3 points
Congressional staffers love to get out of the office and taking district or DC staff on a tour or inviting them to your event can be a great dry run for a later event with their boss. Click here for ideas.
Befriend staff outside work = 4 points
Truly effective advocates make it their business to get to know Congressional staffers outside the context of formal events. If common interests come up in a meeting (kayaking, hiking, hunting, etc) invite them to join you next time! Make it your business to attend festivals and galas where the who’s who of your community tends to show up. This is hard to quantify, but potentially powerful.
Greet legislator at a public event = 2 points
Legislators host town halls, pancake breakfasts, and other more intimate gatherings all the time. Call up your nearest district office to inquire about these kinds of events where you and/or your land trust’s supporters could show up and have a brief interaction.
Reach legislator through a mutual friend = 3 points
Who do you know who your senator or rep knows and trusts? A member of your board? The Mayor? A state legislator? The head of a local business group? Delivering an ask by way of a trusted friend can be extremely persuasive.
Phone conversation with legislator = 2 points
In person meetings are always best, but if you can connect by phone, that’s far preferable to sending a letter or email that may not be seen for weeks. Please let us know what you discussed and what response you got.
Phone conversation with staff = 1 point
Don’t just call and leave a message at the front desk. Tell them you represent an organization that works in the district and ask to speak with the relevant issue staffer or district director. Introduce yourself and start building a relationship. Tell us how the conversation went.
Get legislator to follow or re-tweet you on Twitter = 1 point
There’s no magic formula to get your legislators to follow or re-tweet you, but following and “mentioning” them in your tweets is a good way to start, and it will help you stay on their press secretary’s radar screen. Getting a staffer to follow you counts too.
Get legislator to co-sponsor a bill or sign a letter = 2 points
If your legislator does something you asked them to do, take credit! Tell us how persuaded them to do what you did and how you plan to say thank you.
Political contribution (as an individual) = 3 points
A 501(c)3 non-profit can NEVER endorse or contribute to a political campaign, but if you (or a friend) have the personal means to contribute, it can certainly enhance your access to the legislator.
Attend fundraiser (as an individual) = 5 points
Fundraisers come with a price tag that a 501(c)3 non-profit can NEVER pay, but if you or somebody associated with your land trust is able to attend a fundraiser it can be a great opportunity to get extended face time with your legislator.
Host fundraiser (as an individual) = 10 points
It’s important that there be no explicit or implicit connection to your 501(c)3 non-profit’s staff resources, donor lists, or reputation, but hosting a fundraiser as an individual is one of the most effective ways to gain direct access to your legislators.
General Advocacy Activities
Attend a webinar/workshop = 1 point
Attend a webinar or workshop to build your advocacy skills. We’ll generally give you automatic credit for events hosted by the Alliance, but if we miss something or you attend an outside event, please let us know to claim credit.
Recruit another ambassador = 4 points
Help spread the news. Tell us who you inspired to take the pledge!
Advocacy feature in your newsletter = 2 points
Inspire others to be more active by sharing stories of the relationships you’re building and the resulting dividends for your land trust.
Follow your entire delegation on twitter = 1 point
This is an easy one. Look up your legislators’ twitter handles and “follow” them. There’s a good chance a handful will “follow” you back and it’s a great way to get a sense of their priorities and upcoming plans.
Attend Advocacy Day = 1 point (plus each meeting)
We’ll give you an automatic bonus point for coming to Advocacy Day, but you’ll also rack up a bunch of credit for meetings with members and staff.
Respond to our annual priorities survey = 1 point
We’re counting on Ambassadors to tell us specifically which issues (and nuances within those issues) are important to their land trusts. Look for a link to our 2015 survey soon and come to Workshop D10 at Rally.
Contribute to Alliance policy program = 3 points
Help ensure that the Alliance has the resources to continue representing you in Washington. Click here to donate and make a note that you’re earmarking your contribution to policy. You can also make an additional contribution beyond your land trust’s membership dues.
Meeting/ event with non-pledged legislator/staff at any level of government = 1 point
Ambassadors is designed to encourage focused cultivation of close relationships with the 3-5 federal legislators/officials noted on your pledge form, but you’ll still get some credit for sharing stories from your work with other legislators at the federal, state or local level.
“Big Win” for a federal priority = 10 points
Hard to define, but you’ll know it when you see it. Get your state legislature to adopt a resolution on the incentive. Get your governor to lead a letter with his peers. Persuade a national organization based in your territory to join our coalition. Tell us what you think qualifies.
Questions? Contact Sean Robertson, Advocacy & Outreach Manager via email or call (202) 800-2229.