How to Present a Clear Case
Once you’ve gathered information, you may wonder what to do with it.
Lobbyists – the people who try to persuade decision makers to pass laws they want and block ones they oppose – rely on a tool called the one-pager. Simply put, it’s everything a politician would need to know to make up his or her mind printed on one sheet.
It’s important for you to have a one-pager geared at persuading people too. You may make a special one for your elected officials; they’re also useful to articulate your goals with allies and community members. You can give your one-pager to supporters or members, leave it in organization windows or bookstores, even pass them out to those who disagree with your point-of-view. You can also use your one-pager to work up an elevator pitch to quickly tell people about your campaign and its importance.
For inspiration, check out Cristina Tzintzun’s elevator pitch on why Austin’s construction industry needs to step up when it comes to protecting workers. It’s full of compelling information.
So what goes in a one-pager?
A concise statement of the problem and the solution you seek, whether it’s the passage of a new law or a City Council meeting to investigate the issue.
Evidence, whether statistics that back up your case, or other fact-based proof that the problem demands attention. You can also include quotes from an article in the paper, or first-hand testimony from the person who has been wronged in some way. It is always important to cite your evidence.
Proof of support. One kind of evidence that is very influential with decision makers is statistics on how voters in their districts feel on the issue. Do current business owners overwhelming oppose a new shopping mall that would be on undeveloped, natural land? Does the Latino community, or women’s groups overwhelmingly support a new measure to enforce equality in the workplace?
Where the solution lies. What next steps would you like people to take? Is there a bill currently circulating in Congress? Is there a big protest planned for next Friday? Are you trying to persuade 10,000 people to contact the county judge about county jail conditions? Lead people where you want them to go. Tell them how they can help.
Graphics or photos to liven up your presentation.
Include contact information at the bottom of your one-pager. Ideally, this includes a website dedicated to your campaign or organization, and the name, email address, and phone number of your point person. You might want to create a way for people to give you their information as well. Remember, in order to build a movement, you need to build allies and stay in contact.
Remember, you don’t want to simply tell one side of the story and hope people will believe you. You want to acknowledge and preempt objections, and tailor your message to your audience. We live in an information-saturated world and if your information does not jive with other accounts, you will lose credibility unless you can prove that truth is on your side.
You should include a few quotes of endorsement from business leaders, religious leaders, or politicians. Showing that people in power already support your point of view strengthens your case. Be sure to choose quotes from leaders that your targets will listen to, such as influential members of their political party or others who you think have the decision maker’s ear.
Last but not least, a one-pager fits on one page! If you need to revise and shorten, then do it.