Using Our Assets to Court Political Leaders and Community Leaders
I often hear that we need to get influential people to join us. No matter what the cause, this is an important strategy. For some, this means protests, letter writing campaigns and other means of getting busy people to pay attention against their will. I've chosen a different route.
This is a small enoughcity, that it's not hard to get a politician or their assistant on the phone. We have access. That does not mean that the person we want to influence will have any interest in our cause. They are inundated with competing requests and demands for their time. I'm not going to make any demands or requests. Instead, I'm offering something for free.
I have a cottage that is in a nice secluded spot, 6 1/2 miles off the main highway. It's 65 miles from Victoria and 8 1/2 miles from Nanaimo and the ferry to Vancouver. It's a nice place to get away. The cottage is on 7 1/2 acres and is surrounded by forestry land. It's not a fancy resort by any stretch of the imagination, but it is going to be a rustic sort of resort. People like to stay at resorts.
I'm going to make the cottage available to a variety of influential people. They will be free to eat from the garden, use a rocket powered hot tub and check out other things on the property. My marketing scheme is simple. I'll call and say that the space is available for anyone who would like to experience an environmentally responsible farm. I believe that first hand positive experience will have some influence in winning support for green building and natural farming. By not asking for anything, I hope to let my property speak for itself. On Monday morning when someone says "how was your weekend", there should be talk of gardens and rocket stoves and nature, not about another person desperately seeking an audience. I will have a bookshelf and a few interpretive signs. I think that's enough.
I'm sure there are others amongst us who have a nice place that could serve as a living example of things you'd like to tell people. This seems like a good way to start the conversation. When people are treated to something like this, they remember it and they share it. I don't expect to host the Prime Minister or even the Mayor. But there are many councilors, assistants and others who don't normally get in on every perk. They may also be people of influence. I'll probably invite many more community volunteers than politicians. There are more of them and their pockets are generally thinner. A stay in a cottage may be the only significant perk that these folks get all year. Sometimes, I hope to host larger groups of volunteers who will camp out.
To me, this sort of advertising seems as non threatening as the free samples that are passed out at delis and cafes. Everyone likes a tasty sample. Some like it so much that they become regular customers.
That's all for now. I welcome any ideas you may have. Does anyone have other ideas on how we may court influential people through example and free offerings ?
Matu Collins wrote:This is an interesting idea, Dale, and I'm glad you're doing it.
I am not sure everyone would consider it ethical. Not the worst ethical breach, but something some politicians might consider shady in some areas.
If you could swing it that the politicians could use it as a photo op or campaign type thing it might work.
Maybe a way to point us toward the fast track for appropriate regulations for things like rocket mass stoves, composting toilets and graywater systems...
The way for them to get into trouble, would be for me to ask for something and be given it. By making no demand for an audience or for anything else, I'm not creating opportunity for a conflict of interest. The offer is --- come check out this sustainable property and see what you think. Politicians don't get in trouble for coming to their own conclusions on issues and acting according to their best judgment when it comes time to vote on farming or environmental issues. They get into trouble by rewarding those who give them money or other benefits to act against the public interest. Should they use it as a photo op, this would give publicity to a good cause.
I expect that most people who take me up on the offer will be people who are part of community groups whose cause I'm in favor of. I'll invite some folks who I met at the Sierra Club, volunteers from the community garden, volunteers from the beach clean up. For most of these folks it will be a rewards program. Many will already be completely on side politically. Still, the majority will not have had the opportunity to try out bio gas cooking, hugelkultur, a rocket mass heater, and a fishwasher dishwasher, all in one day. If any of them are like me, it's what they will talk about all the next week. That's a good thing.
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
You're right, of course, that it can be done in a perfectly ethical way. I'm not suggesting that you would be looking for favors. It's just that gifts to politicians of vacations are sometimes viewed as troublesome. By all means, go for it.