Preservation & Lobbying

Preservation & Lobbying

Lobbying 101 is designed to acquaint you with the lobbying techniques and resources available to aid in advocacy. Although the focus is on federal level, the information and recommendations can be applied to state and local advocacy for historic preservation as well..

A Blueprint for Lobbying

All of the content in this section is based off a National Trust publication by Susan West Montgomery called A Blueprint for Lobbying. The material on this page has been updated but you can also download the original text.


For many, the word lobbying conjures up images of back rooms and cigar smoke, back slaps and bags of money. Those images are far from the truth. Casting your ballot in the voting booth may be the most fundamental of democratic acts, but talking to your elected official—lobbying—is the indispensable next step.

Preservationists, like every other group of citizens joined in common cause, have the prerogative and the responsibility to let members of Congress know that the legislation they enact has consequences, positive and negative, for our historic preservation goals back home. After all, who knows better than we how rehabilitation tax credits can rebuild our downtown? Who better to explain the full reach of the Historic Preservation Fund into plans and programs that protect our treasured heritage.


  • Lobbying is nothing more than simply being a strong voice for heritage resources in your community, a role preservationists play every day through every action undertaken to preserve historic sites.
  • The most fundamental part of lobbying is establishing positive long-term, working relationships with your legislators, laying the groundwork for taking specific action when the need or the opportunity arises.

Lobbying 101: Overview

The right to lobby is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitutions and, as citizens, we must take advantage of the opportunity to have our voices heard by the elected officials at all levels of government.

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Lobbying 101: Getting Ready to Lobby

There is no restriction on how many members of Congress you may lobby. You will find, however, that your own state congressional delegation - those who are there to represent your interests - will be the most responsive.

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Lobbying 101: Lobbying Techniques

Whenever you are in Washington, you should contact your representative or senators, or their staff. While personal visits or letters are the most effective methods of lobbying, telephone calls can also get results.

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Advocacy Toolkit 

Originally developed for the Advocacy Training Manual Produced by the Center for State and Local Policy these five sections were updated in July 2020.

They include: Communicating with Elected Officials, Working with a n Advocacy Coalition, Developing a Grassroots Network. Growing a Grassroots Network, Media Communication for Advocacy Campaign, Lobbying and Political Action



Act: Legislation that has passed both houses of Congress and has been signed by the president or passed over his veto, thus becoming law.

Conference: A meeting between the representatives of the House and Senate to reconcile differences between the two houses over provisions of similar bills that have been passed by each chamber. Members of the conference committee are appointed by the Speaker and the president of the Senate, and are called “managers” for their respective chambers. Informally, they may also be referred to as “conferees.”

H.R.: House of Representatives. These initials are used before the identifying number of a bill introduced by the House (i.e. H.R. 1234).

Marking Up a Bill: Considering amendments to a measure in committee, taking it section by section, revising language, penciling in new phrases, etc. If the bill is extensively revised, the new version may be introduced as a separate bill, with a new number

S.: Senate. This letter is used before the identifying number of a bill introduced in the Senate (i.e. S.3456). 

More Glossary Terms

10 Essential Steps for Effective Lobbying