Legislative Field Work
Many people think that canvassing, or going door-to-door to speak with people about issues is reserved for the few months or weeks leading up to an election. This is because most people do not take part in the democratic process outside of voting every 2 or 4 years. As political insiders we know that the majority of law making decisions take place between legislators and lobbyists, and these days it is increasingly rare that the general public takes an active role in shaping public policy. The ironic part about this is that we as the lobbyists tend to forget how much power a constituency can hold if they are educated about the problems facing them as individuals or members of a community, and can convey a solution oriented message to their representatives on a large enough scale that the legislators have no choice but to listen and take action.
Success in this line of work is determined by your ability to influence legislators to vote the right way on the bills that matter to your clients. For the same reasons that your clients hire professional lobbyists to convey the proper message to the most influential legislators, BDO can be the group that reaches out to the constituents of the legislators you are working so hard to influence, and activate what is arguably the most powerful political weapon in any arsenal: the voice of the voting public. Below you will find a variety of examples of ways in which RMVO can provide you and your clients with the invaluable opportunity to influence legislators from outside the dome. Remember, these are just examples, and BDO will work closely with you and your clients to develop a campaign plan specific to your goals.
♦ Short term or quick hit projects (3-7 days)
- BDO will put together a team of canvassers to speak with voters in specific districts or areas about a specific issue, and ask people to take action by signing a post card, petition or statement of support.
- These kinds of projects can generate targeted political influence in the form of a product that you can show legislators that proves a certain level of concern or desire for action to be taken among their constituents.
- BDO would recommend a project like this as a test to see if field work will influence a certain legislator or to figure out what kind of message will resonate best with voters. This type of project will provide a moderate amount of pressure in determining which way a legislator may vote on your bill.
♦ Month long or partial session projects
- By taking a little bit more time to reach out to and speak with voters in one or more legislative districts BDO can take slightly more complicated issues to voters at their door and begin the critical step of educating the public so that they can convey the proper message to their representatives.
- Most legislative districts in Colorado can be fully canvassed more than once over the course of a month, and many of them could be covered three or four times. By having a team of well trained and highly educated canvassers speaking with people at their doors on behalf of your client, we are able to help people connect to the issue or specific piece of legislation you are working to pass or defeat and provide them with the knowledge and opportunity to make their political voices heard.
- BDO would recommend this type of project for any bill or set of bills that will appeal to a majority of people in a target district where the legislator needs to hear from his or her constituents in order to vote the right way. This type of project can generate a moderate to strong amount of pressure on legislators through tactics such as hand written letters or personal phone calls from constituents to the legislators from a large number of people in the district.
♦ Session long or year round campaigns
- For certain issues or bills to make it through the Legislature and get the Governor’s signature, sometimes several legislators need to hear a similar message from many different types of constituents on an ongoing basis in order to vote the right way, or even better, lobby their fellow legislators to vote that way too. The ability to generate the kind of pressure needed on a large enough scale to ensure success on this type of effort only comes with a commitment to speaking with the people affected by the legislation and organizing them and their communities to make their political voices heard.
- This type of project could be used to build membership for a group or organization that would represent the individual voters at the capital. BDO canvassers would have the ability to identify potential volunteers or leaders within the community who can help grow the campaign. By canvassing a set of districts multiple times over the course of a year BDO can have an ongoing conversation with voters to keep them updated on your issues, and provide the public with the education and sometimes persuasion that it takes to get people excited about having continuing contact with their legislators.
Media attention and coalition building (Grasstops Organizing)
In addition to overseeing the teams of canvassers across the state that will be delivering your message to individual voters, BDO’s management team has years of experience running media campaigns and coordinating broad coalitions of community groups in order to focus as much attention and pressure as possible on a certain issue or bill.
For example, our canvassers can ask people at the door to write a letter to the editor of the local newspapers in order to show local public support for your issue. Our organizers can also work with leaders in the community to garner op-ed pieces in local papers as well.
By combining our expertise in running paid canvass operations with our knowledge and experience of campaign coordination, BDO can provide you with the most complete product to help shape the conversation or debate on one or more of the issues or bills you are working on.