As a member of Congress, hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals crossed my desk during my time in office. On average, a member of the House represents 700,000 constituents – which means Congress and their staff are filtering through approximately 250 proposals every year.

Therefore the need to break through the noise and stand out is paramount to getting heard.  It’s simply the first challenge, a major one at that, to be overcome when submitting an idea to the state or federal government.

After 22 years in office, I recommend asking yourself five specific questions before presenting a proposal. Over the next five months, I will discuss one of these five questions at length.

Part 1 of 5

The first question to ask is: Do I Have the Right Connection?

Building a better mousetrap is rendered fruitless unless the right people review your idea. Knowing who to talk to and getting your proposal in front of their eyes is the first obstacle. This is one of the most difficult steps in the entire proposal process. After all, there’s no point in spending the time and energy crafting a meaningful proposal if it’s never read by those you intended it for – those who can turn it into something actionable.

If you don’t maintain a relationship with the relevant leadership, you’ll need to:

  • Enlist the help of a contact who has that connection
  • Develop the relationship yourself by going to town hall meetings, fundraisers, or other events your target Representative attends
  • Visit the district office and engage the staff with the goal of setting up a meeting
  • Find a consulting firm who already has those contacts

Connections and influence could be a deciding factor when it comes to the success of your proposal. If you are serious about your idea, get in touch with the people that can help you see it through.