New Political Groups
For Strong Animal Protection Laws and Enforcement

These 90-minute NIFAA Webinars will turn you into a
power players for animals in your town, city, county, or state.

Animal shelter reform           Dog chaining, fighting, racing         Spay/neuter
Pet stores/puppy mill      Hunting/trapping      Circuses, rodeos      Animal farming

 Plan a NIFAA Webinar for your formal or informal group (no minimum number)

HOW THEY WORK: See Julie Lewin’s Power Point presentation on your computer and hear her voice on your phone. When you register, Julie sends you a link with a password for your computer and an access toll phone number. After the presentation, join in a discussion and question-and-answer period.


NIFAA Webinar I:
Get Political for Animals and Win the Laws They Need
in Your Town, City, County, or State

"You know I support you. But face it. You're not going to win.
No one up here is afraid of you."
CT State Senator John Fonfara,

addressing a group of animal charities on a humane education bill

Power in the lawmaking arena comes form an issue group's ability to influence elections.  winning strong laws to protect animals requires a clear understanding of how endorsing political candidates is the key to success. All other issue groups know that true power in the lawmaking arena requires political organizations that endorse political candidates. Animal advocacy is the only issue group that lobbies through charitable organizations, squandering our efforts and opportunities to help animals. Laws you can win with political organizations are minimal compared to the laws you can win without political organizations.

You will learn:

  • How animal rights and rescue advocates become power players in the lawmaking arena in your town, city, county or state by becoming political.
  • What being political means.
  • What political organizations are and why they work.
  • How even very small political groups win laws and force government policy on their issue, because lawmakers know that small politically organized groups often swing elections.
  • The top priority of lawmakers is to win re-election. Only political groups can base their strategy on that fact.
  • The most important factor that determines how lawmakers vote on your legislation is whether they fear their decision could cost them Election Day votes.
  • The merits of the legislation are low on the list of factors that determine how a lawmaker votes on it. The merits are low on the list of factors that determines your bill's fate.
  • How even landslide electoral victories are often determined by a very small number of votes--and how to ensure that lawmakers know your group has--and will deliver--these votes.
  • Why your successful strategy for winning strong laws that protect animals--and their enforcement--is based on these facts.
  • The size of your list in each lawmaker's political district reflects your potential to reward the obedient lawmaker with your votes--or punish the lawkermaker by sending those votes to his or her opponent.
  • Recruitment must be your number one activity.
  • When a lawmaker must choose between voting with you group or voting for big money, your political group wins.
  • Why protests, petitions, and media rarely win a strong bill, unless they're backed by political group.
  • When no media coverage is better than even good media coverage.
  • Political designed petitions work wonderfully. We'll show you.

NIFAA Webinar II:
How the Lawmaking Process Really Works --
and How Your Political Group for Animals Impacts Each Step

"One of the first times I saw the potential impact of a small number of votes a the local level was at the University of Texas. Most of the 49,000 students didn't vote. So the race for student body president was typically decided by 2,000 votes. It was clear that if we gave 2,500 more students a reason to vote, we could take over student government. And we did so." Jehmu Greene, former director Project Vote; executive director of Rock the Vote; the Democratic National Committee, Southern political director

To be taken seriously and to be effective in the lawmaking arena, advocates must understand the lawmaking process before they launch a legislative agenda. And understand the key role of direct political organizing. Too often, we get a great idea for a state law or local ordinance to protect animals, and mistakenly think our passion is enough. Too often, the animals pay the tragic price. We waste precious time and resources, and create a mindset of failure.

You will learn:

  • The lawmaking arena is a political ecosystem.  
  • The political structure of the lawmaking body.
  • Lawmaking is a step-by-step process.
  • At each step of the process, a piece of proposed legislation can die from lack of action, be voted upward to the next step, be changed for better or worse ("amended"), or defeated.
  • With a political organization, you  impact each step for the outcome animals need.
  • Lawmakers at each step know that based on their performance, your group will reward or punish them with constituent votes next Election Day. Lawmakers are campaigning for re-election the day after they're elected.
  • The process in your town, city, county or state lawmaking body.
  • The most important factor that determines how a lawmaker votes on your bill is your Election Day votes (as above). The merits are low on the list (as above).
  • The second most important factor in a bill's fate concerns each lawmaker's political party and his or her position in the legislative hierarchy.
  • The significance to your bill's fate of each lawmaker's political party affiliation and position in the hierarchy cannot be exaggerated.
  • This impacts your recruitment strategy, concentrating on lawmakers with the most power over your bill.
  • Lobbying: How your political organization's lobbyist (volunteer or paid) becomes a power player in the lawmaking arena, because to the lawmaker s/he represents Election Day votes in the lawmaker's district.
  • Lobbying: Your lobbyist's five tasks.
  • Lobbying: How your lobbyist strategizes with your political group.
  • Lobbying:  Winning lobbying techniques. Common errors committed by citizens that make or break a bill.

NIFAA Webinar III:
How to Launch and Run a Political Group for Animals

in Your Town, City, County, or State--
and the Simple Steps It Takes to Do It

"Change comes from power. Power comes from the organization."
Sal Alinsky, the father of grassroots political organizing

Power in the lawmaking arena comes from "electioneering," that is, an issue group's ability to impact the outcome of elections. Only political groups can electioneer--charities cannot. A political group signals to lawmakers that advocates of the issue are not naive or amateurs, that they understand how to wield power, that they know how to play to win. Every other issue pursues legislation through political organizations, because it works. 

You will learn:

  • How to start your political organization for animals in your town, city, county, or state.
  • The structure of your political organization.
  • The on-going tasks your political organization will perform and how to perform them.
  • Recruitment is your number one activity.
  • Getting and using political district maps. 
  • The different types of political organizations--what each can and cannot do legally.
  • What papers to file to form each type of political organization and where to file them. It's so much easier than forming a charity.
  • Political action committees can be formed in 2 days. Starting an independent political group.
  •  How existing charities form affiliated political groups.

NIFAA Webinar IV:
How to Reform Your Local Animal Shelter
and Animal Control Department

       June 28 or to schedule, contact Julie at jlewin@nifaa.org.

"Impact local animal control by understanding the 'chain of command' and organizing politically so lawmakers fear you can impact local elections." Los Angeles prosecutor

So often, town, city, and county animal shelters and animal control departments fail the frightened animals for whom they're the last resort. Indefensibly high kill rates, poor care while impounded, inadequate veterinary services and physical comfort, tepid adoption screening, exclusion of volunteers, and weak enforcement of animal cruelty and neglect laws are among the aspects that need major overhauls. This webinar provides the tools and understanding for you to compose a solid, winning strategy for reform, combining research methods, techniques for lobbying local lawmakers which are unique to local animal shelter reform, fresh new methods for galvanizing public support, and organizing politically, with next Election Day in mind.

You will learn:

  • The 5 components of your winning strategy: 1) Research your local "chain of command;" 2) Research your animal control department; 3) Write your basic lobbying and organizing document; 4)  Lobby decision-makers; 5) Organize public support.
  • The "chain of command": Ultimately, budgets and decisions are made by a lawmaking body composed of individual lawmakers who want to be re-elected. Learn each step up the chain and how to approach,  negotiate, and influence the players at each step.
  • Research your local animal control department: Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA) allow you to learn the detailed mechanics of how the department functions. You must learn exactly how the department works, including staffing,  job descriptions, number of animals impounded, how each animal is tracked, the disposition of each animal, funds spent on food, veterinary and other necessities, daily logs of animal control officers, and governing state laws.
  • How to compose your basic document, incorporating your research's findings: This essential, succinct, memo-formed document will function as your recognizable public statement. It will include the individual specific problems you want reformed, explained individually, and your very specific individual demands for reform, explained individually.
  • Lobbying decision-makers: With your basic document in hand, how to interview your local police chief and each local lawmaker individually, asking for specific, quotable responses on each item for reform in your basic document, telling them that you will include their responses in a periodic public news sheet that measures progress or lack of progress with your goals.
  • Organizing public support: Each lawmaker's top priority is to be re-elected, so your effective strategy must be based on this fact. Use your basic document and periodic news sheet, media, and on-the-ground grassroots sign-up campaign, to organize a political lobbying group that will announce its intent to endorse local political candidates next Election season. Your group's endorsement decisions will be based on each lawmaker's performance in helping you make progress in meeting your goals.

 NIFAA: National Institute for Animal Advocacy
is a project of the Connecticut Council for Humane Education, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
6 Long Hill Farm Guilford, CT 06437 203-901-5355

Your donations are tax-deductible

Reviews from participants:

“You have helped redirect my energy and focus towards a new frontier, a very constructive one.”

"Thank You Julie! Your book is right on! The webinar was a life-changing event for everyone who attended!”                                                                                   

You are making a big difference…teaching those who love animals how they can make laws better."

“I have heard from people who attended yesterday’s webinar and all thought it was wonderful. Your book and webinars will really change the way people prioritize their time and effort.”

"One thing that will stick in my mind is the information about petitions. It's nice to see HUGE numbers of signatures from all over, but the only names that matter are the voters in the lawmaker’s district. I have suspected this and it was interesting to hear that confirmed."

"The subject I found most compelling was the effectiveness of working locally with the lawmaker's own constituents.  Julie showed very clearly that lawmakers want one thing above all and that's to get re-elected. Threaten that and you get their attention.”

"50% + 1...1 to 1 accountability of individual lawmaker to his or her informed constituents who vote...it's ALL local.  The key is to impact voter turnout, because ordinarily so few vote who could vote. Take advantage of low voter turnout!  One person does matter and a small voting bloc makes a difference."

“Thanks Julie, you're BRILLIANT!" 

“I've been pushing your book down the throats of engaged advocates that can barely pay their utility bills right now. It’s that necessary.”

Your formal or informal group can schedule its own NIFAA-Nar Webinar

Rights and Rescue Groups, Students, Professors, Attorneys —
Praise Our Workshops, Talks and Lectures

Host a NIFAA Event

NIFAA president and trainer Julie Lewin gives training workshops, talks, lectures and other appearances around the US. Hosts may be rescue or rights groups or individuals. There is no minimum or maximum number of attendees, only people who want to learn.

Events can be ½ hour to 2 days in length. Contact Julie at info@nifaa.org, jlewin@nifaa.org or 203-901-5355 to discuss. She will adapt her presentation to meet your needs. For a full workshop, ½ day to 1 day is standard.

In most cases, the host/s must pay travel expenses and an honorarium, because
NIFAA has no funding for these events.

Or Come to NIFAA

Julie gives workshops in NIFAA’s office for 1 – 30 advocates. We’re in Guilford, Connecticut, a beautiful, historic shoreline town. A choice of accommodations is nearby.

NIFAA Workshops and Presentations

Sample curriculum for a half or full-day course
Shorter presentations include the highpoints


~ You CAN become power players for animals in your town, city, county or state—
IF you understand that power comes from being political.

~ Lawmakers’ top priority is to be re-elected. To win strong laws for animals, you must
base your lobbying strategy on this fact—on Election Day math. It’s why you must have a political group that endorses candidates. The merits and need of your legislation are low on the lists of factors that will determine its fate. Election Day math is the top factor.

~ A political group is designed to hold the lawmaker accountable to his or her own
informed, concerned constituents who vote. This is why the political group wins
strong laws while animal charities and concerned individuals fail. It’s why all other
issue groups lobby through political organizations that endorse candidates. Lobbying
for a charity is not being political.

~ About local and state political groups. They are easy and quick to establish.

~ Why media coverage, protests and petitions rarely if ever determine the fate of strong
animal legislation. Often they are a waste of time and sometimes are harmful.

~ How the lawmaking process in your town, city, county or state really works—
and the role of your political group for animals.

~ Lobbying techniques, do’s and don’ts. The pro-active lobbyist for a political group is
a power player! In towns, cities or counties, you can do this while holding a job.

~ How to form, launch and run your political group for animals. It takes only 2
animal activists to run and lobby for a local political group—and you can still
hold full-time jobs!

~ Your top activity must be recruitment, because your power in the lawmaking
arena comes from the “ground up.” Winning recruitment strategies.

~ Enforcement of state laws, local ordinances and policies about animals will be
achieved by your political group, because you can make enforcement a political
issue. How a political group achieves aggressive enforcement.

~ Animal rights and rescue charities can form affiliated political groups. Here’s how.

~ Understanding media: When and how to use it to impact animal legislation—and
when to avoid it.

Longer events have more detail. They may also cover:

~ The dynamics of social change.

~ The structure of government and the structure of politics—and why animal advocates
need to know it.

~ The dynamics and mechanics of political campaigns. When you understand political
campaigns, you understand just how the lawmaking process works.

Praise for NIFAA Workshops and Presentations

“Today’s seminar was—without a doubt—the most valuable I have attended…You are an exciting speaker
and I left feeling empowered and motivated. The material and your ability to keep the session moving
were impressive. You presented clear, effective and attainable methods to bring about change
through the political process. You are obviously a savvy, shrewd and effective operator.”
Berryman Hill, Wake County, NC

“We asked the county commissioners for a spay-neuter ordinance. They pretended to be supportive,
but nothing happened. So we brought Julie Lewin to give us a NIFAA training. By incorporating her instruction, the commissioners voted for our ordinance unanimously!”
Susan Krisko, assistant district attorney; board member, Las Vegas Valley
Humane Society, NV

“…energizing, eye-opening, even entertaining and her speaking style dynamic. If every rights and rescue advocate attended a NIFAA event, it would be revolutionary for animals.”
Zia Terhune, Gainesville, FL

“Enthralling, mesmerizing, a great success, with some people traveling a significant distance…It’s reassuring
to hear it from someone who has come up "through the ranks”
—who has done all the things we've done (rescuing, protesting, leafleting), but has expertise in the
political arena. We’re now forming a political group!”
Linda Leas, President, People/Animals Network, Dayton, OH

“Excellent presentation! You know your stuff!”
Janye E. Hendricks, Esq., Alachua, FL

“Having Julie in person was invaluable. We had reached an important crossroads for the future of animals
in our area. The stakes were high. We were ready to act but were clueless to what our next step needed to be. The really smart thing we did was to bring Julie to give a seminar for us. Before Julie we were a group
of well-intentioned advocates…With Julie’s help we were able to see that our good intentions weren't enough…We are now on the road to effecting real change through political action….”
Mondy Lamb, Marketing Director, ASPCA of Wake County, Raleigh, NC

“I loved your program at New York University Law School so much, and I have been devouring your book
and sharing your advice with animal advocates I volunteer with. I really can't tell you how great
your talk was—the best I've ever been to.”
Lori Barrett, Nassau County Attorney’s Office, Brooklyn, NY

“I encourage other schools to invite you to speak so that a new generation of animal rights activists can emerge that will make use of our potential political power and stop relying on charity and good will.”
Jennifer Palmer, President, PAWS, Princeton University, NJ

“Hearing Julie has forever changed the way we pursue animal activism. I hope her message resounds throughout the animal rights world.”
Shane Michael Guy, Director, League of Humane Voters, NE Ohio
at the presentation at Farm Sanctuary Hoe Down

“A life-altering experience, utterly revises what I consider effective animal advocacy.”
Mark Gross, WA

“NIFAA’s approach is exactly right. Power in the lawmaking arena comes from the leverage of
political endorsements. Make sure you tell them that a political group can be powerfull with very few people.”
City Commissioner Eric Sten, Portland, OR to Julie Lewin during interview


NIFAA: National Institute for Animal Advocacy
is a project of the Connecticut Council for Humane Education, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
6 Long Hill Farm Guilford, CT 06437 203-901-5355

Your donations are tax-deductible

© 2018 NIFAA - All Rights Reserved

Photo Credits

Rescued fighting dog- courtesy of www.unchainyourdog.org
Dog chaining billboard - www.unchainyourdog.org