Each of us is just one person, and sometimes we can feel powerless against giant institutions, especially bodies of government. After all, they’re notorious for being bureaucratic and staffed by uncaring workers who take pleasure in thwarting citizens, right? The politicians are no better, promising everything to get elected, then forgetting about us little people once they’re in. Yeah, and we’re especially powerless over where our tax dollars go, aren’t we? Government money serves the interest of the rich and powerful, and we’re left out.
Well, not so fast. You may have more power and more of a voice than you realize, if you just know how to exercise it. Sure, a lot of government money goes to those who are influential, but part of that may be that they have mastered the skill of communicating with elected and appointed officials and making persuasive arguments to justify their funding requests.
You can do the same. Believe or not, just writing a letter to the elected official who represents you at the national level carries a lot of weight. One reason is that letter-writing is becoming a lost art in the electronic age, so a well-crafted, written letter gets noticed. Your representative has staffers whose job it is to respond to citizens who have contacted the office. Since so few people actually take the time actually do so, then when you do, your stated needs and viewpoints have a lot of influence.
This holds true for persuading decision-makers of the need for government money to be allocated for a project. You don’t necessarily have to sit back and wait for grants to be offered. If you have an idea for a project that will benefit a community, your voice will be heard, especially if it involves job creation, economic stimulation, or help for an under-served group. If an elected official can help allocate government money to something that makes their helps their constituents, improves economic indicators, and is high profile, then he or she will be eager to push it through.
On a local level, a good way to make yourself heard is to start attending meetings that are open to citizen, such as city council meetings. It’s a good idea that you first familiarize yourself with the procedures. Then you may arrange to get yourself on the agenda to present your project idea to the local decision makers. If you make a convincing case for how your project can be good for your city, then you may see government money materialize that wasn’t even being offered previously. Or you may get the opportunity to meet one-on-one in your elected official’s office to discuss your project and the possibility of government money to help it.
However you choose to make contact with your government representatives, always be polite and professional. They’re people with feelings too, and besides, it’s counter-productive to your goal of getting government money if you behave disrespectfully.
You do have a voice in your government and you can help determine how government money gets allocated, so it’s worth the effort to get to know your local and national elected officials and get them behind your project. Once they know you and know that you are a deserving recipient of government money, you’ll continue to enjoy great success.