Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Day provides a unique opportunity for nonprofit organizations, activists and community leaders from across our state to unify and raise awareness about the crucial role nonprofits play in supporting communities, strengthening our economy and making Vermont a better place to live.
Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Day is a unique opportunity to:
- Educate lawmakers and state leaders about the strength and value of Vermont’s nonprofit sector and learn why your work matters.
- Learn advocacy best practices from experienced lobbyists, Legislators and each other.
- Network with non-profit colleagues, funders, legislative staffs and the most connected and influential people in the state.
Here are some useful resources to help you make the most of your advocacy efforts.
We have prepared a toolkit to assist you in making the most out of Nonprofit Legislative Day. If you have additional questions, please contact us at (802) 862-1645 x 21 or at director@CommonGoodVT.org
1. Register and plan ahead.
Invite your Board Members, clients, and co-workers to join you at Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Day! Make the most of your day at the Statehouse by reaching out to your legislators, sitting in on Committee meetings, attending informative panels, networking with your peers and participating in panels and discussions, designed to improve legislative decisions and investments. Here’s what you can do:
- Reach out to your legislators
- Sign up to testify
- Submit an Op-Ed to your local paper about the issues that concern you
2. Think about the story you have to tell.
To help you get started watch this informative panel from 2014 and learn how to Speak the Secret Language of the Legislature. This will help you to prepare local op-ends about issues that concern you, draft testimony to submit to legislative committees, and simply talk about in the halls of the statehouse. What are the data points that support your position. What difference will your program make?
As you plan your talking points, don’t forget to refer to the Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Digest for gold star advocacy examples.
3. Make contact with your legislators.
Reach out to your the Legislators from your home district or those with an influence on issues you care about. The lunch break or any time that they have available is a good time to schedule a get together–or when they are home on Mondays during the session. Check the Legislative Directory to find them. See the Tips for Contacting Your Legislators, below.
4. Sign up to testify on a bill that concerns you.
Do you have an opinion on Legislation under consideration? Legislative Day is great opportunity to get your name, organization and cause on the legislative radar. If you are interested in testifying and/or visiting a Committee:
- Review Bills that have been Introduced: http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/released/2018
- Check the list of Standing Committees to determine the name of the Chair or Clerk at http://legislature.vermont.gov/committee/list/2018
- Check their Calendar to find out what will be discussed when you are there (typically published the Friday before and subject to change): http://legislature.vermont.gov/home/noteworthy/legislative-schedule/
- In the meantime, reach out to the Committee Chair or Clerk and let them know that you are interested in speaking with them after 10:45 a.m. on Legislative Day.
5. Let everyone know you are going to Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Day!
Let them know you’re coming! A major component of Legislative day is having a strong show of force in the Statehouse to demonstrate to lawmakers, the press and the public that the nonprofit sector is strong and united. Below are strategies for their raising awareness:
- Tell colleagues, volunteers, funders and friends about Nonprofit Legislative Day! A strong turnout is key so please help spread the word about this inclusive event. Share the blog post.
- Get Busy on Social Media! Let your friends know you’re coming, become a fan @ www.facebook.com/CommonGoodVT.org, follow twitter.com/commongoodvt and use the Twitter hashtag #npvt and #vtleg and let your friends and followers know you’re coming. Share posts and pictures throughout the day.
- Send a press release or Write an Op-Ed notifying the media of your involvement with Nonprofit Legislative Day and the importance of Vermont’s nonprofit sector! Here is a list of VT MEDIA sources for you to use. Don’t forget to include your local papers, radio stations and public access channels. It all helps to spread the word!
6. Follow these quick tips for reaching out to your legislators.
- Find them here: VT Legislative Directory
- Phone Call Script
- Email Template
- During Your Visit
a. Phone Call Script
Hello Representative/Senator NAME,
I’m calling in honor of Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Day, which is coming up on March 23rd.
• I will be attending the events taking place in Room 10 and testifying at a committee on the day (if applicable)
• I would like to set up a meeting with you during lunch while I’m in the Statehouse.
• We also want to invite you to Room 10 in the Statehouse for a panel discussion on the challenges facing the nonprofit sector. A special guest will also be reading a devotional on behalf of the nonprofit sector at 11:00 a.m.
b. E-mail Template
Dear (Representative/Senator) NAME,
I’ll be in the State House from ___ to ____ and I would love to set up a time to meet with you to share [ORG NAME’s] goals for 2017, which include [GOALS]. I will follow up with a phone call to see if we can choose a specific meeting time.
I am [NAME], [TITLE] at [ORG] and I will be attending the Common Good Vermont’s Annual Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Day events on Thursday, March 23rd at the State House. The goal of Nonprofit Legislative Day, coordinated by Common Good Vermont, is to raise awareness for the varied and deep contributions nonprofits make to Vermont’s economy and quality of life, and we are proud to be a part of this important sector.
I’ll be in the Statehouse from ___ to ____ and I would love to set up a time to meet with you to share [ORG NAME’s] goals for 2017, which include [GOALS]. I will follow up with a phone call to see if we can choose a specific meeting time.
Vermont’s nonprofit sector accounts for $6 billion in revenue of the state of Vermont. Providing a wide variety of services including job training and adult learning, early child care, crime prevention environmental stewardship and advancements in renewable energy, Vermont nonprofits are absolutely vital to our all of our well being. The nonprofit sector is a huge contributor to the economy, making up approximately 20% of Vermont’s Gross State Product. We are proud to be joining Common Good Vermont in uniting for Vermont Nonprofit Legislative Day.
Thank you for your time and for your service to the State of Vermont!
Sincerely, NAME | TITLE/ORGANIZATION | PHONE | EMAIL
c. Tips for Legislator Visits
- Start on time. Be prepared, and polite.
- Start by concisely introducing your organization. Include the following information: Who you are/ What your organization does/ What you need from your legislator/ A reference to the fact sheet you have prepared
- If they are at your facility, consider arranging a short activity that will showcase the work of your organization and allow your legislator to see your staff or volunteers in action.
- Don’t attack the legislator for his/her record on your issue(s), and don’t disparage government or politics.
- Don’t use technical terms or acronyms, unless you are certain that your legislator will understand them.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, say you’ll find out and get back to him/her – and follow through.
- Before s/he leaves, ask how you can be of help to him/her.
- Thank him/her for his/her time.
Directions & Parking
DIRECTIONS & PARKING: From I-89 to State House (no guaranteed parking) Take Exit 8 towards US-2/Montpelier/VT-12, Merge onto Memorial Drive. Turn left onto US-2/Bailey Avenue, turn right onto State Street/US-2. The Vermont State House will be on your left at 115 State Street.
From I-89 to Department of Labor Parking : From Memorial Drive, turn left onto Green Mountain Drive. Turn right into Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) parking lot. Parking is available behind the Vermont Department of Labor.
Please do not park in the lanes parallel to the building. The Capital Shuttle will arrive every 20 minutes from this lot and take you to the State House. For example, to arrive by 9:15, you must catch either the 8:40 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. shuttle.