1. How to make an effective congressional visit DIGESTIVE DISEASE NATIONAL COALITION
2009 Public Policy Forum
2. What to do Before the meeting Make an appointment in advance with either the legislator or their health care LA.
Research the legislator’s background and stance on the issue that you wish to discuss with them.
3. What to do Before the meeting cont. Limit the group to no more than five people (if possible).
Learn about the background of each group member. This will help determine which group member should discuss a particular aspect of the issue during the visit.
4. What to do Before the meeting cont. Select a facilitator for the group who will open the meeting.
The facilitator should be a constituent of the legislator’s district (if possible) or state.
Decide with your group the main objectives of the meeting and set an agenda accordingly.
5. What to do Before the meeting cont. Prepare a written summary or package of materials for the member of Congress and his/her staff.
Should include facts, brochures, and/or issue briefs.
Try to limit the package to three pieces.
Make sure to include the source of information in the packet and any contact information that may be necessary for follow-up discussion.
6. What to do during the meeting Make sure that you arrive to your meeting on time.
Tell the receptionist your name, what organization you represent, and who you have a meeting with.
Be patient. A number of factor’s may make it hard for the legislator or staff member to meet exactly at the time of the appointment.
7. What to do during the Meeting cont. Be conscious of the time… members and staff are extremely busy.
Allow the team leader to begin the meeting.
The team leader should introduce him/herself and the other group members as well as explain the general purpose of the meeting.
DO NOT GET SIDE-TRACKED, stick to the agenda.
8. What to do during the meeting cont. Once the team leader has introduced the issue, other group members should contribute to the conversation when it is appropriate to do so.
Provide updates or background information to a particular aspect of the issue.
Use statistics or other types of hard evidence when possible.
Use your package of materials to really emphasize your case.
9. What to do during the meeting cont. Demonstrate public support for your position by discussing the impact of the issue on the legislator’s constituents.
Citing the member’s district or state whenever possible makes the argument more effective.
Explain how your recommendations will have a positive impact for the constituents.
10. What to do during the meeting cont. Once everyone in the group has had an opportunity to speak, the team leader should end the conversation by asking the Congress member of staffer to take a specific action.
Summarize your main points and any further action that the member/staff can make.
Ask the member/staff if there is anything else that you can do to help facilitate your request.
11. What to do during the meeting cont. Thank the Congress member/staffer for taking the time to meet with you.
12. what to do after the meeting Reconvene with the other members of your group and fill out the Congressional Visit Evaluations.
Follow-up your meeting with a personal thank you letter to each individual that you met with.
If materials are revised or updated, include them with your thank you letter.