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Making the most of your advocacy efforts

One of the major pillars of IREM’s mission is to advocate for real estate managers and the real estate management profession. IREM members have a long history of reaching out to legislators at the local, state, and federal level, to inform and educate them on the real impact of any pending legislation.

These actions are important for several reasons:

  • To make informed decisions, our legislators should know all the facts
  • Real estate is a key driver of the U.S. economy and should be protected
  • When real estate professionals partner with their legislators, we can help build stronger communities

Let’s explore each of those bullets a little bit further. First, legislators know a lot of things, but they can use expert help. IREM members are at the top of their game, and truly are the experts when it comes to real estate, and real estate management specifically. Meeting with legislators helps lawmakers understand the full scope of the issue they’re legislating.

As a driver of the U.S. economy, real estate is the greatest source of wealth and the largest asset for many Americans. Commercial real estate provides millions of jobs, spaces for shops, restaurants, manufacturing, and all kinds of industry. And real estate construction demands skilled and unskilled labor and a supply chain that circles the globe.

Strong communities depend on the balance between jobs, housing, transportation, and industry. Taxes, local zoning laws, access to capital, and a host of other factors that can’t all be explored here are a part of that balance. When the local real estate landscape is thriving, however, so is the community.

Where do I start?

Building relationships with your local, state, and federal legislators can help you grow your business, and help your representatives gain a full grasp of the issues on the table. Direct interaction, virtually or in-person, is an available and effective channel for you to get to know each other and form a connection.

With COVID-19, most legislators aren’t meeting with constituents in person, but, virtual meetings are available. And meeting with them now is more important than ever - the pandemic has raised so many issues and crises related to real estate. Your legislators need to know how their jurisdictions are really affected by any pending legislation.

Identify your legislator

To begin this journey, first, find your legislators. IREM has a tool for that purpose. You should use your home address.

There are other ways to engage with your representatives. Think about:

  • Asking them to tour your properties
  • Inviting them to an upcoming IREM chapter event
  • Attending a town halls or other scheduled events
    • To find out when a legislator is conducting a town hall or other event, you can either call their office, or, they may have a list of monthly events on their website

Educate yourself

There’s probably at least one issue you’d like to speak with your representative about. Before meeting with them, educate yourself and become comfortable with the topic and the issues on the table. Learn the opposing views, IREM’s position, and if there’s been any Congressional action yet.

IREM is here to help, and maintains our organization’s public policy priorities. It's a good place to start, and if you can’t find answers to all your questions there, you can always reach out to our Government Affairs team at for help and guidance. These professionals keep the pulse of our advocacy efforts and have strong ties to key legislators and to our coalition partners.

You can also attend events from industry organizations, like IREM’s Advocacy Impact Day, which are designed to get you the information you need to know to prep for meetings and learn about the most important issues to address.

Ask for a meeting

Now that you know who your representatives are, and you’ve researched the issues, you’re ready to reach out. Here’s what you should know:

  • Contact your legislator’s office 2-4 weeks in advance to schedule your meeting
  • Introduce yourself as a constituent, and let them know you’d like to meet with the legislator
  • Most representatives have an option on their websites to request a meeting, or you can use this letter template
  • Provide the topics when scheduling your meeting, or let them know you’ll send them once they’re finalized
  • Ask for 30 minutes, but you may only get 15, which is fine
  • Specify where you’d like to meet - in their district office or virtually
  • Always follow up with a phone call to make sure they received your request for a meeting
  • If a meeting with a staffer is offered, take it! Staffers are the “eyes and ears” of their bosses and establishing rapport with them is extremely helpful
  • Once you’ve confirmed the meeting details, provide a full list of attendees

Let IREM know about your meeting!

Letting IREM know about your meeting helps us measure the success of our advocacy efforts. So, when your meeting is confirmed, please submit the meeting details to IREM HQ at

Prepare for your meeting, both virtual and in-person:

  • Before meeting with your legislator, schedule a meeting with those who may be joining you, to discuss the issues you’d like to address, and who will be presenting
    • Even if your meeting is brief, you’ll be better prepared to make the most of your time
  • Be ready to explain the issue briefly, and in your own words
  • Prepare to give a personal example of how the issue has or would impact you and your business
  • Arrive or log-in 15 minutes early
  • Business attire is appropriate, even virtually! They’ll appreciate the effort.
  • Don’t forget to respectfully ask for their support

If meeting virtually, consider the following:

  • Do your best to make sure you have a stable internet connection
  • Make sure the platform you’re using is simple to use, like Zoom. You don’t want to run into technical issues.
  • Have a back-up, or someone who can speak for you if you run into technical issues
  • Test it!!
  • Make sure you have a professional background for your meeting, and that you’re meeting somewhere free of distractions
  • Turn off or silence your phone

Follow up after the meeting

  • Send a thank-you email the following day, and to any staffers who joined the meeting
  • Reiterate your main points in your email, respond to unanswered questions that came up, and remember to thank them for their time
  • If you have a leave-behind, attach it to your email
  • Encourage further discussions!

Remember, you’re building a relationship with an important partner, even if you have a difference of opinion. It’s important to remain flexible and to stay in touch. You deserve to be heard, and our Congressional representatives deserve to hear from the experts on all the issues they’re tackling.

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