Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Planning Meetings on Capitol Hill..with Toys!

Are you taking the leap to advocate in a day of lobbying on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.? How exciting! That's exactly what I'll be doing next week with my daughters at the RESULTS International Conference and Lobby Day. If you are going to lobby your members of Congress with a national advocacy group, chances are that the organization may have already set up your meeting schedule for the whole day. But if you are with RESULTS or Citizen's Climate Lobby or another one that puts a premium on the relationships between each constituent and their members of Congress, then you may well be in the position of creating your own lobby schedule. I find this to be extremely empowering, but it's also confusing if you have never even been to Capitol Hill.

How are you supposed to set up meetings with senators and representatives, coordinate volunteers, allow everyone to eat, and ensure no one is late for a meeting when you don't even really know where the Senate and House of Representative buildings are? It seems complex, but you can do it! Are you a coach who has assigned children of various talents to teams and put together a soccer schedule? Have you arranged rehearsal schedules for church Christmas pagents? 
Have you ever herded cats? You're qualified to schedule lobby meetings!
Requesting meetings is the first important step, but I'm actually not going to dwell on the mechanics of that since RESULTS has already covered that very well with a tutorial sheet appropriately called "How Do I Get That Meeting?" The focus of this post is to show you how you want your meetings to flow when you're in D.C., so that you have an idea of when you'd like to set up your meetings in relation to one another. In a departure from my normal blogging, I'm doing it in the form of a 7 minute video. As usual, I'm going to explain it to you the way I explain it to my children with visual, interactive you go! 

Video: Congress Critters Lobby Day Strategy 

We hope you enjoyed our production! In summary:
  • Group your senate meetings together and your representative meetings together since the House and Senate are far from each other on opposite sides of the capitol
  • Keep your meetings fairly short...about 20-30 minutes on average
  • Leave plenty of time to walk between meetings
  • Don't forget to plan for lunch and make sure your meetings before or after are in buildings that have cafeterias
What other scheduling tips would you add that you have learned from lobbying on Capitol Hill?