Your homework. Before making contact, learn key background information. Visit a senator's or representative's website. States and many local municipalities also have websites where you can find information on elected officials. Be sure to know if they are in the Afterschool Caucus.
Be specific. When you call, email or meet in person, tell the official why you are there and what you want. Your interaction might only last a few minutes. Be sure to mention it if you are a constituent.
Establish yourself an expert information source. Elected officials have limited time and staff and many competing issues to consider. That's why advocacy is so important. You can fill their information gap and become their "expert."
Bring materials to leave behind. Leave your elected official with a profile of your program and any other materials that describe your program's benefits for kids and families in your community.
Follow up after a meeting. Send a personal thank you note to the official and staff for their time. If you promised information, be sure to get back in touch quickly.
Think you have to know everything. It's okay to admit you don't know something.
Burn bridges. Work to find some sort of consensus and always leave on positive terms.
Forget. Elected officials work for you! You should be courteous but not intimidated.