#FOISummit brief: Yes, You CAN … on a Shoestring

Megan Rhyne, Hyde Post, Anne-Marie Taylor and David Marcello spoke at the first panel of the 2013 FOI Summit at The Renaissance Arts Hotel, New Orleans. Three topics were discussed at the panel.

Please see speakers biographies here.

Megan Rhyne talked about direct lobbying and indirect lobbying.

"Lobbying is important because it gives you a platform to reach out to stakeholders," Rhyne said. Lobbying gives you a good reason and good way to reach out to people because you are following what happens daily in the legislature, and you are interacting with the stakeholders, she said.

Rhyne said it’s important to be on the same page as your board of directors. A written statement of purpose is valuable to this end, as is going directly to the board with any questions you may have.

David Marcello summarized: It is very important to know what your purpose is when lobbying. You can play an inside game or an outside game, but you can only do one. He said to begin with the inside game. Find a legislator who is sympathetic to your cause and get him or her on your side.

Hyde Post began with a discussion of lobbying. If a lobbyist doesn't have a lot of money but has some people that are willing to work, long-term lobbying can be effective. Long-term lobbying is simply is education, Post said. More often than not, a lobbyist is preventing the door to access from being shut, he said.

Post also said to be aware that school board members are often the least savvy about open government issues because they tend to come from the general populace rather than politics.

Taylor said one of the most important aspects of fundraising is not being afraid to ask for donations. She said a credit card reader that plugs into a cell phone is a great asset, because sometimes pledges to donate are spontaneous, and with a card reader, you can hold them to it on the spot.

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