What is the number one way to influence a member of Congress? Citizens have more power than they realize – personal communications from constituents make all the difference. 46 percent of Congressional staff report that in-person visits from constituents had “a lot of positive influence” on Members/Senators, compared to 8 percent who had the same thing to say about lobbyists.
Ned Monroe, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at the National Association of Manufacturers, joined GBTA Legislative Symposium 2015 to discuss the power of constituents and share six steps GBTA members can take to stay engaged and keep the momentum when they go home.
Step 1: Work with your Government Relations Team
If your company has a government relations team, work with them when you return home and report back on what you’ve learned while in D.C.
Step 2: Visit your Home Office
All Senators and Members of Congress have offices in their state or district in addition to an office in Washington, D.C. Ned recommends scheduling a meeting during a Congressional recess when the lawmaker is likely at home.
Step 3: Attend Earned Media Events
After your meeting, attend an event where your lawmaker may be in attendance. You may also want to consider writing a letter to the editor, op-ed or blog post thanking your lawmaker for the meeting.
Step 4: Social Media
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are critical to further engaging with lawmakers and their staff outside of one-on-one meetings. Ned recommends tweeting at the lawmaker, thanking him or her for the meeting and posting photos on the lawmaker’s Facebook page. Posting a thank you on LinkedIn, is also helpful in increasing the impact of your visit.
Step 5: Participate in Campaigns
If appropriate, Ned recommends participating in local political campaigns. This could involve anything from attending events or fundraisers to helping with posting yard signs.
Step 6: Contribute to PACs
Contributing to a PAC that supports your views on issues important to you can help give your donation a larger impact as it is pooled with other PAC contributors.