Grassroots Actions You Can Take

 It is essential for our elected officials to understand the issues facing your natural products business and the government policies that can have a major impact on your bottom line. A simple letter from you can begin the relationship. Tell them about your business—such as how many people you employ, how long you have been in the community, and your concerns about how government actions can harm your store.

NPA also encourages members to invite your Senator or Representative to visit your store so you can show them first-hand how you help your customers support their health.

How to Communicate with Members of Congress

Help! I don't know how to lobby a Congressman!
NPA's grassroots lobbying manual covers all the aspects of effective local-level lobbying from various methods of grassroots communication to the basics of the regulatory process. Download Your Guide to Effective Grassroots Action
.

How do I write to my elected official?
As a business owner, you have a choice—you can contact the elected officials for your home address or for your business address if it is different. Note: Because congressional districts are often split within zip codes, you may need to use your +4 zip code. Find your elected officials by zip code.

 

Developing a Relationship with your Elected Officials

There are several ways to take the first step and become politically involved in the natural products industry. Don't ignore opportunities to visit with your lawmaker at home. Arrange for them to visit your business while they are in town, or invite them to speak at a local industry event. Begin educating your lawmaker about issues by arranging for a town hall meeting of your customers and other business people to discuss topics important to your success as a businessperson. Offer to become an informational source for your legislator on industry issues. Finally, remember to give a little back by contributing time or financially to your legislator's campaign.

When is my elected official visiting my hometown?
Most elected officials hold town hall meetings or other constituent gatherings when they visit their home districts; the schedules are on your legislator’s website. Even if you can’t attend a formal meeting with your elected official, most members of Congress have newsletters, Facebook pages and Twitter feeds to keep constituents up to date on the member’s activities and schedule. Visit your official’s website and sign up for these services.

How can NPA help me to meet my officials?
NPA’s Natural Products Day is an effective way to connect with those who represent you in the U.S. Congress. This day-long event offers you an opportunity to not only meet and mingle with your representatives and their staff during formal meetings and an evening reception, you'll also have plenty of time to network with your industry colleagues. So that you can relax and enjoy your day on Capitol Hill, NPA takes care of everything for you: breakfast before our lobbying workshops; transportation to Capitol Hill; pre-scheduled meetings with legislators; and a gala evening reception. And because we value your time and effort to travel to Washington, there is no cost to attend Natural Products Day. 

Can I meet with my elected officials in Washington any other time?
Most elected officials will meet with constituents who set up an appointment while visiting the nation’s capital, and some hold frequent “coffees,” where constituents can informally chat with the official.

How can I get a legislator to come to my business?
Your members of Congress are first of all, members of your community. They understand the importance of keeping in touch with their constituents – after all, the community sent them to Washington on their behalf. As an employer, taxpayer, and activist within your community, you are in an excellent position to develop a good relationship with your elected officials. A good way to develop a relationship with elected officials is to invite them to your business for a tour or special event. You also can offer public support for the officials through letters and comments in local media.

Here are a few ways to get them involved:
  • Invite a member of Congress to drop by your store or plant for an informal visit. Initiate this request through the member's district office.
  • Ask the member of Congress to “cut the ribbon” at your new or renovated facility.
  • Ask the member to attend customer appreciation day or your employee/family picnic.
  • Invite a member of Congress to a local or regional NPA or business-oriented organization’s event, or invite a member of Congress to speak at a convention or association meeting.
  • Invite the legislator to be the Honorary Chair at a major charity dinner or a community event your business supports or sponsors.
My elected official has accepted my invitation. What do I do now?
  • Write a letter detailing the event, i.e. date, time, location, number of participants. 
  • Provide the member’s staff with all necessary contact information. 
  • Coordinate press coverage before the event, i.e. write a notice for your local media of the event and provide the member's staff with the names of the media you have contacted. 
  • Inform your employees of the special guest. 
  • Hand out a brief biography of the representative. 
  • Record the event by taking photos. 
  • Send the member a thank you note and include photos and any press coverage the event received.