Take a look at a congressional calendar and you’ll see a funny thing. Eleven months of the year, lawmakers spend significant time in session. Even in December, the House and the Senate get work done before breaking for the holidays.
But August is always almost completely blank. The late summer is a political and policy doldrum in Washington and in most state capitals, a time when lawmakers head home to their districts to spend time with constituents, participate in campaigns and take some time off.
Does advocacy stop, too? No—not if your organization is serious. The off-season is a great time to advance your issues with lawmakers, whether they serve in Congress or state legislatures, but it requires a strategy designed to reach them.
“How to Engage When Legislators Are Out Of Session” is the topic of Phone2Action’s next webinar on Friday, July 26 at 12:30 EST. Join us to hear from legislative staffers and experts in media and advocacy about the most effective tactics to reach lawmakers while they are home for the summer, and to get your questions answered.
Setting an Effective District Strategy
The webinar is designed to provide expertise and ideas that will help your organization create a strategy for communicating with lawmakers back in their districts.
The panelists include Bethany Dame, Senior Director of Political Engagement, Advocacy and Grassroots at American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA); Stephanie Shweiki, Marketing Specialist in the Advocacy Space; Sara Lasure, Communications Director for Senator John Boozman (R-AR); and Martyn Griffen, a Customer Success Manager at Phone2Action and former House staffer.
Dame, Shweiki, Lasure and Griffen will explain the importance of the legislative calendar, what lawmakers do in and out of session, why communicating with lawmakers back in their districts is an opportunity for advocacy organizations and, perhaps most important, how to do so with maximum impact.
Tactics that Work
The webinar will cover tactics to increase face time with lawmakers, allowing your organization to discuss issues without the distractions that are everywhere in an active legislative session. Some examples:
- How to reach out to lawmakers and meet with them in the district, where they have fewer demands on their time.
- How to invite lawmakers to meet in your environment. A tour of a factory or distribution center, or even a meeting with association members, puts lawmakers in touch with their constituents and takes them inside your industry.
- How to capitalize on local events that are already taking place, such as town halls and fundraisers.
- How to create your own events, such as a rally or even a fly-in, that lawmakers may want to attend (and may find hard to ignore).
It will also explain how grassroots advocacy can be highly effective in a lawmaker’s district, where constituents—the very people who vote them into office—are listening and can be educated on your issues. For example:
- How to advertise using local radio, television and newspapers, as well as geo-targeted social posts and local event sponsorships, to maximum effect.
- How to generate interest in your issues among local groups and organizations, such as unions or associations.
As a bonus, the webinar will cover how your organization can capitalize on the downtime in August, when there are no bills to track and no lawmakers walking the halls, to sharpen your advocacy game. To hear those ideas, and many more—and to ask the panelists your questions—join us for Friday’s webinar.
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