Research & Data Collection

The key decision-makers you are trying to influence do not need to become experts on your issue, but they will need enough information to help them understand why they should invest their time and energy in your issue when there are so many other things pulling at their attention. Keep it simple and tap into the experts when you need help.

Because research and data collection are critical foundations of policy advocacy, there are four categories of research that you will want to do early on: Problem, Process, Policy, and People

Securing Bill Co-Sponsors:

Oftentimes, bills can have co-sponsors and the list of co-sponsors can be an important information about the insider support for your bill. Here are a few things to keep in mind when enlisting co-sponsors:

    • When speaking to potential co-sponsors about this issue, it is important to use tested messages about this issue. These decision-makers may not become sponsors, but this is still an opportunity to educate them about your issue. You should highlight how different it is to grow up these days with the internet. The pressure to meet beauty and body standards is greatly amplified by social media and influencers across many digital platforms. It is also important to acknowledge that you do not expect to solve the entire problem with one standalone policy. The legislation you are asking them to sponsor is just a first step and part of a bigger policy package that can address both the cause and effect of this urgent problem.
    • Co-sponsors will not usually make or break your bill, but you will want to have a strong back-up to your lead sponsor in case they leave office early or fall out of favor with leadership.
    • Strive for bi-partisanship. The opposition party is less likely to kill your bill if there is some support for it within their ranks.
    • Aim to have co-sponsors from each region of the city or state. You want to demonstrate broad support.
    • Because these issues impact many communities, seek a co-sponsorship list that is inclusive by race/ethnicity, gender, and other important identity groups in your local area.
    • Recruit unlikely bedfellows. Of course, you will be able to win the support of the health advocates in the legislative body, but what about the fiscal watchdogs, economic development, or criminal justice champions?
    • If you know which committee your bill will likely be assigned to, try to get a few members of that committee signed on as co-sponsors to give you inside information about its status.