Sorry, but it’s your job to tell your friends they are advocating all wrong.

I’m pretty sure I was like 15 before my dad corrected me.

I had been saying the word deodorant wrong my whole life. Never mind how I said it, but man, deodorant made so much more sense.

He thought it was cute. I was oblivious.

This is just like most of political advocacy right now. Except in this case, you’re my dad and your entire timeline is me — oblivious.

It’s time to tell your friends the truth. They are advocating all wrong.

My company has been surveying legislative aides in Florida for five years.

Every year we hear pretty much the same thing and it applies everywhere — nobody is going to read copy & paste emails and petitions — and protests almost never change lawmaker opinions. Sorry not sorry.

— Copy & paste emails are the least effective communication (5.13% very likely)
— Protests get media attention, but they don’t change votes (10.53%)
— Petitions are worthless (except for getting your email address) (10.53%)

The good news is that with a similar amount of effort, your friends can get it right. Instead of that copy & paste form email, tell them to write something personal, visit an office, or make a real phone call.

— Personalized emails are the third most effective form of communication (34.21% very likely)
— Personal phone calls to local elected officials can work (44.74%)
— A constituent office visit is the best chance to make something good happen (55.26%)

But here’s the kicker to that — and they may not want to hear it. It’s absolutely critical to communicate with the person elected to represent you.

Oomph. I know. That one hurts. But it’s true.

Elected officials care most, and almost exclusively, about their own constituents. But they care a lot.

In every single annual survey we’ve ever done, legislative aides say that citizens are more important to the process than lobbyists, legislative staff, or even the Governor. And remember, these aides are granted anonymity and if anyone has a right to be jaded, it’s them.

— Citizens are the most important part of the lawmaking process (77.78% very important)
— Legislative staffers are also important, so be nice to staff (61.11%)
— Lobbyists are less important than the Governor, state economists, and political advisors (31.43%)

And what should advocates talk about? Keep it local, know what it’s going to cost, and keep it about growing the economy and jobs.

— Local district is (88.24% very important)
— The issue better have some local economic benefits (88.24%)
— And you better know how much it’s going to cost (74.29%)

Now it’s time to stop acting like it’s just your friends who are advocating all wrong. We all do sometimes. It’s okay.

Admitting that is the only thing that makes it okay for you to share this Medium post. Otherwise, your friends would all think you are cruel — letting them say advocacy wrong forever. Geez.

And as far as those Facebook and Twitter rants alienating family members — vent is probably a better word because most of that goes out the window. Only 21.05% say it’s very likely to sway lawmakers — and that’s only if you’re a constituent.

So now get with it. It’s your job job to tell your friends they are advocating all wrong. And you know they will be checking their timelines.



Watch last year’s results below. If you want the full 2016–17 Survey Results, sign up here and I’ll send it to you in an email tomorrow.


I actually got so angry at people for spamming form emails to elected officials, my company made an advocacy product with a policy that doesn’t allow them, ever. Stop spamming lawmakers.