There’s a policy that needs changing / stopping / starting in your city or country? Here are some simple tips to help maximise the chances that the politicians will take notice.
First things first.
Pray. Really. Pray and get others praying. This is your most important action. And take time to know exactly what you want to see changed and who has the power to bring about that change. Make sure all your facts are correct. Reach out to others. Who else shares your opinion and would speak with a similar tone? Build a coalition or a coordinated approach.
Politicians are human.
Start praying for the politicians you need to influence and watch them. Try to understand where they are coming from, including the pressures they are under and who they are influenced by. It does not matter if you like the politician or not. They represents the electorate so respect their office. Have they done or said something you liked, however small? Politicians hardly ever get thanked or encouraged so surprise them.
Be totally professional.
Who should meet the politicians? The person who has the knowledge, character and authority to do a good job. But also consider who the politicians are most likely to be willing to listen to. You may want an influential friend to come with you.
Politicians do not have to listen to you. They are also incredibly busy so you need to make things really easy for them. Prepare a 1 page document with your facts and what you want, perhaps with longer supporting documents if needed. Keep things simple. Be 100% accurate. Only ask for things they can actually deliver. Do as much work for them as you can, e.g. draft the amendment you want them to make to a law.
Ask for 5 minutes of their time. Be happy to talk to the assistant – because (s)he has the power to put something at the top of the politician’s items they need to consider. Be gracious, clear, calm, discreet.
If the meeting does not go as you want, agree to disagree with gentleness. Go home, pray and let go of any frustration. Start thinking and praying about what to do next. Disappointment is the norm. Perseverance is vital.
Be confident but humble.
If you pray hard, prepare well, know your facts and how to share them succintly, you can be confident.
You are an expert in the horrors of human trafficking &/or sexual exploitation. That means you know much more than the politician does. You have real stories and revealing facts. You have the authority to speak.
But be humble. Your job is to serve. You are helping the politicians do a good job, to make a difference on your issue.
And, if your influence works, still be humble but be grateful to the politicians and to God. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory are the Lord’s alone.
Julia Doxat-Purser is the Socio-Political Representative & Religious Liberty Coordinator for the European Evangelical Alliance, wherein she inspires and facilitates excellent Christian engagement in society. Her particular interests are advocacy and enabling others to be effective in ministry.