The Real Clout Workbook

Sometimes ordinary citizens who are directly affected – even hurt – by an existing law or regulation, or the absence of any law or regulation protecting them from a threatened harm, get mad enough to try to do something about it. They are angry because they, or someone they know, have been harmed; feel helpless because they aren’t sure if they can do anything to change things; and anxious because this business of changing a law involves ‘lobbying’: a new and unfamiliar game. Even the word ‘lobbying’ conjures up an image of a slick, high-priced lawyer lobbyist whispering in the ear of a key politician to whom he has contributed thousands of dollars.

If you are a board member, professional staff or grassroots volunteer in a non-profit organization that aspires to change a particular public policy, and have experienced any of these things, then The Real Clout Workbook is for you.

The Real Clout Textbook

Real Clout was written to serve as a how-to manual for community activists who, for one reason or another, need to figure out how their state or county government really works. There are so many questions:

  • What do you have to do to convince state or county public officials to interpret existing law and regulations differently?
  • What do you have to do to convince a state or county public official to work with you to design, create and fund a new program?
  • What is the official timetable and process of changing a law or regulation?
  • What is the budget process?
  • Can non-profit organizations really do this stuff?
  • Where do we go to get some honest answers?
  • Do we have to hire a high-priced lobbyist to get things done?
  • Where do we start?

Lobbying on a Shoestring

Lobbying uses the legislative process of Massachusetts to illustrate the general principles of building and executing an effective lobbying campaign and to provide anecdotal evidence of what should or should not happen when using any of the suggested lobbying tactics.

The process and the players can be goofy, but, most politicians are, by profession, charming and colorful. Resist taking them, or yourself, too seriously. And remember, significant changes in public policy have been made by individuals and small groups with determination, tenacity, and a sense of humor.