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Introduce Yourself: Relationship-Building for Main Street Advocacy

November 30, 2022 | Making the Pitch: Relationship-Building for Government Advocacy | By: Kelly Humrichouser, Director of Government Relations at Main Street America | 

Did you hear? There was just a big election, and many new lawmakers and other elected officials are taking on new roles, which may include decisions on funding and policies that effect your work. Main Street programs regularly interact with decision-makers in councils, legislatures, and agencies cultivating strong, bi-partisan support for downtowns and commercial districts. Whether you are planning an advocacy effort in 2023 or want to lay the groundwork for continued support, right now is a critical time to educate newly elected officials - and remind those who have been in office for a while - about the impact of Main Street.

Not sure where to start? Here are some quick tips for connecting and communicating.

  1. Do some quick research: set aside a few moments to make a list of elected officials and review newly elected officials biographies and campaign platforms to understand any alignment with Main Street goals. 
  2. Follow and share: Sign-up for elected officials' newsletters, follow social media accounts, and attend events or town hall discussions. Send an invitation to elected officials to receive your Main Street communications.
  3. Make an Introduction: Find contact information for recently elected officials and reach out to establish your organization. See sample outreach letter below.
  4. Meet and greet: If you're able, conduct a short phone call or coffee meeting to establish a relationship. Use this time to ensure your legislator understands your program’s priorities and the diverse funding and technical resources that support your work.
    Most importantly, relationship building with elected officials should start today. Waiting until you need to request support for funding or a specific policy may prove challenging. These initial steps are a starting point for more touchpoints and connectivity to help elevate your message when you need it most.

    Sample Outreach Letter

    Dear _____:

    On behalf of (organization), I would like to congratulate you on your recent election and introduce you to the Main Street program in (community). Our mission is (insert mission). We accomplish this work in partnership with (coordinating program) through the Main Street Approach, a preservation-based economic development methodology. We are making a difference in our community. In 2021:

    • (# of new businesses) new businesses were created in our district.
    • (# of jobs) new jobs were added; and
    • (# of buildings rehabilitated) buildings were rehabilitated.


    I am attaching (most recent annual report OR one-pager about program). I would be grateful for the opportunity to brief you on our strategy for the revitalization of (Main Street district) and the resources that best support our work.

    Please let me know if you are available for a brief call on (offer several dates/times). (Alternately, you may want to include an invitation to an upcoming event hosted by your program. If so, be sure to acknowledge the elected official if they attend.)


    (Your Name)
    (Your Organization)
    (Contact Phone Number)