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How to build and power map your target list

How to build and power map your target list

In the context of appropriations advocacy, selecting key targets and knowing their levers of power and influence is essential to securing the funding your program needs. Below are steps to take when building a target list customized to your appropriations advocacy campaign.

  1. Identify your targets.
    • Identify who in the governor’s office has authority over your target budget items.
    • Identify legislative leadership with power in the appropriations process. (e.g., speaker of the House, leader of the Senate, relevant Committee chairs)
    • Identify which lawmakers are on the budget and legislative committees with jurisdiction over the appropriations bills that include the programs for which you’re working to secure or expand funding.

TIP: Both chambers will vote on appropriations, so don’t limit your targets to the Committee, although they do have a critical role.

  1. Research your targets.
    • Research lawmakers’ past votes on your issue and on related appropriations.
    • Research if any lawmakers or someone close to them have a personal connection to your issue (e.g., they have children/grandchildren in daycare, their spouse is an early child educator, etc.).
  2. Tier your targets.
    • It is helpful to have a clear, visual way to look at where members of the Budget Committee (or members of the chamber) are on your issue so you know how many votes you need to win.
    • Create a 5-column spreadsheet that ranks lawmakers on a scale from very opposed, leans opposed, neutral/unknown, leans pro, very pro. Assess lawmakers based on your research and slot them into the column that best describes them. This will allow you to count your votes and identify persuadable lawmakers from whom you might be able to secure a vote.
  3. Power map connections with your targets.
    • Power mapping is a valuable tool to assess how best to influence the targets you have identified that you need to secure your funding request.
    • For each key target, work with your coalition partners to identify who influences your target (e.g., other lawmakers, advocacy groups, the press, their constituents, donors, etc.) and assess if those influential players are for or against your issue and how powerful they are.
    • Identify any connections you or your partners have to those who influence your targets and develop advocacy strategies and tactics to create a surround sound effect around your target that pushes support for your issue and funding request.

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