Requesting a Meeting

Document Sample
Requesting a Meeting Powered By Docstoc
					                                       Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                                  Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.



               AID Legislative Action Toolkit
             On Organizing In-District Meetings
Americans have the great opportunity to influence policy on the local and national levels.
Americans for Informed Democracy is excited to help you take legislative action and we
want to make sure you know the 4 easy steps to meeting with your legislator, otherwise
known as an In-District Meeting. The following toolkit gives specific instructions on
how to take the appropriate steps to having a successful meeting with your policymaker
in these steps:
                Step 1-Requesting a Meeting
                Step 2-Preparing for the Meeting
                Step 3-The Meeting
                Step 4-Follow-Up

To contact AID please check out the website to find specific program directors or call
410-962-8773 or 410-962-8770.

STEP 1: REQUESTING A MEETING

After you’ve notified AID that you’re interested in arranging an in-district meeting or a
meeting in Washington, DC with your member of Congress or local policymaker, here
are some suggestions on how to request and schedule a meeting.

1. The basics - Decide whether you would like to schedule a meeting while you’re at
   school, at home during break, or in Washington, DC. You can either meet with the
   policymaker who represents your school district or your hometown. Also, decide if
   you want to meet with the respective representative, either senator or all three
   members of Congress that comprise your state delegation.
2. Set a date - Meetings are scheduled year-round, yet you may have a better chance of
   meeting with your member of Congress directly while they’re back in their home
   district on recess. Both the House and Senate schedule recesses throughout the
   winter, spring, and summer. Check the House or Senate legislative schedules at
   www.house.gov or www.senate.gov for specific dates. These would be ideal times to
   try and schedule an in-district meeting.
3. Choose a delegation – Decide who will join you during the meeting. Seek out
   friends who have similar interests, fellow AID members, or family members. As the
   organizer, you will be considered the Delegation Leader and will take responsibility
   for all logistics and preparation related to the meeting.
4. Send a meeting request letter - Send a meeting request letter to your member of
   Congress’ office explaining why you want to schedule a meeting and what you would


                                             1
                                       Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                                  Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.



   like to discuss (a sample letter can be downloaded on AID’s website). Make sure to
   note that you are a constituent and how many people will be attending (list the names,
   if possible). You can find your legislator’s contact information on their website
   which can be located at www.house.gov or www.senate.gov. Address the letter to
   your legislator’s district office and send it via fax. Sending a hard copy letter may
   result in delays.
5. Follow-up on your request - Feel free to follow-up on your request 2-3 days after the
   original send date. Call the district office directly and ask to speak with the
   scheduler.

STEP 2: PREPARING FOR THE MEETING

Once a meeting date and time have been confirmed, AID can help you prepare for the
meeting itself. Sometimes AID Program Directors have developed specific talking points
on specific issues to guide you through the meeting and to make sure you take advantage
of this important opportunity to convey critical policy messages to your member of
Congress so please contact the appropriate Program Director for more information.

1. Contact your delegation - Let your delegation know that a meeting has been arranged
   and confirm who will be able to attend. The scheduler may have arranged a meeting
   between your group and the member or you may be meeting with a staff person if the
   member is not available.
2. Research - Conduct some basic research on your member of Congress to find out
   where they stand on global issues, such as global poverty or HIV and AIDS issues
   and develop and print out talking points. Visit their website to read about their
   backgrounds, which committees they sit on, if they’ve made any recent statements on
   these issues, etc.
3. Arrange prep meeting – Set a date and time to meet with your delegation to prepare
   for the meeting. This can take place over the phone or in person. During the
   meeting, you and your group will discuss the talking points and answer any questions.
   Discuss the goal and message you want to communicate to your member of Congress.
   Do you want to raise awareness or change policy? Assign roles and establish what
   you each plan to say at the meeting.
4. Prepare materials - Prepare a “Leave Behind” packet to bring to the meeting.
   Include background information provided on AID’s website.

STEP 3: IN-DISTRICT MEETING

As the Delegation Leader, it is your responsibility to coordinate the discussion and ensure
that the meeting is conducted in a professional and respectful manner. Here are some
guidelines to help ensure that your meeting runs smoothly and that you’re able to convey
these important messages.


                                            2
                                       Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                                  Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.




1. Your voice is critical – As a constituent, your member of Congress is concerned
   about your opinion. Make sure that you mention you reside in his/her district or state
   and explain why you are passionate about the fight against global poverty, for
   example. Explain that you are a member of Americans for Informed Democracy and
   why you are involved. Be passionate and remember that you do not have to be an
   expert on the issue. If you are not able to answer questions posed by your member of
   Congress or his/her staff, let them know you will be willing to send them any
   information as soon as possible.
2. Appearance – Many people ask how they are expected to dress for an in-district
   meeting. A standard rule is “business casual.”
3. Timeliness – It is best to meet your group at least 10-15 minutes before the scheduled
   meeting time. Some groups like to meet at a coffee shop near the district office or in
   the building lobby. This is a good way to touch base with each other before the
   meeting begins and to make any last minute adjustments in case someone is unable to
   attend on short notice.
4. Manage Your Time – If you are meeting with your member of Congress directly it is
   difficult to tell how much time they will have to spend with you. At times, the
   member may only spend a few minutes with the group and a staff person will take
   over or the member may devote more time than expected. On average, expect a
   meeting to last a half hour. Either way, follow the talking points developed and the
   amount of time allotted to each issue. Make sure to stay on message and be
   respectful of the time.
5. Manage Expectations - Sometimes it is difficult to anticipate the level of familiarity
   your member of Congress and/or their staff person has in regards to specific global
   issues, including global poverty issues and HIV, in particular. Don’t feel that you
   need to be an expert; your best assets are your passion and concern for these issues.
   If you are asked a question that you’re unable to answer, feel free to say that you’ll be
   happy to get back to them and AID will help you follow-up.
6. Wrap-Up – Before concluding the meeting, be sure to thank the member and/or their
   staff person for taking the time to meet with you. Provide them with the “Leave
   Behind” packet and let them know that you look forward to staying in touch.

STEP 4: FOLLOW-UP

Congratulations! You and your delegation should be proud of completing your in-district
meeting. You were able to take a stand on behalf of your morals and values and truly
make a difference by demonstrating to your member of Congress that they have a
passionate constituency who care about these important issues. Thank you for taking the
time to organize such a committed group of individuals and for carrying out such an
important meeting.



                                             3
                                       Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                                  Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.



If this was your first meeting, you’ll probably find that there are some things you’d like
to improve upon for your next meeting. Don’t worry, this is normal! The second time is
always much easier, once your group becomes more comfortable in delivering their
messages. Here are next steps once your meeting is complete:

1. Immediate Follow-Up – The member of Congress and/or staff person will typically
   provide each member of the group with their business card. Hold on to this for future
   reference and be sure to send a thank you note as well as any follow-up information
   requested during the meeting.
2. Feedback – Make sure to fill out the feedback form available on AID’s website.
3. Long Term Follow-Up – Stay in touch with your member of Congress and/or their
   staff person. This is a great opportunity to foster this relationship and to present
   yourselves as a resource. AID will keep you posted on any updates related to issues
   within our program areas. As the legislative process continues, there may be an
   opportunity to take action again in the near future.




                                            4
                                       Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                                 Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.




                                      Sample Letter
[Date]

The Honorable XXX
Attn: XXX
Address1
Address2
City, State Zip

Dear Senator/Representative XXX:

As your constituents and members of Americans for Informed Democracy (AID), a
national student organization, we would like to request a meeting with you in your [insert
city here] office to discuss the U.S. role in the fight against global poverty.

The U.S. currently supports poverty-fighting work that takes many forms, including
training teachers, building wells for safe drinking water, providing basic family health
care, and helping stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. As young leaders passionate about these
issues, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and talk about how we can
make an even bigger difference in the fight against global poverty.

In particular, we would like to discuss reauthorization of the President’s Emergency Plan
for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is currently being debated in Congress. This is an
historic opportunity to halt the spread of the AIDS pandemic and ensure that all men,
women, and children are able to live a life of dignity and respect.

Now more than ever the American people and your constituents see the need to build on
past successes and provide a future filled with hope for poor communities around the
world. We and other AID supporters would like an opportunity to share our views and to
support you in your leadership on these issues.

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to meeting with you. We will
follow up with your staff to find a time that works best with your schedule or you can
contact us directly at [insert phone number here].

Sincerely,


[name]                                                      [name]
[title]                                                     [title]
[city, state]                                               [city, state]


                                            5
                                     Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                                Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.



               Legislative Action Strategic Plan
                                     (Your Copy)

Now that you have the skills to organize an In-District Meeting, complete the document
below to help you plan and put your skills to action! Once completed, you may provide a
copy to an AID representative for guidance and to help you with any resources you may
need.

Step 1: Requesting an In-District Meeting
Determine meeting
location:______________________________________________________
Determine meeting
time:_________________________________________________________
Choose a
delegation:____________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
______
Who will send a letter or call your representative to request a
meeting?_____________________
Who will follow-up on your request and
when?________________________________________

Date to Complete Step
1:_________________________________________________________

Step 2: Preparing for the In-District Meeting
Who will contact your delegation to relay your meeting time and place with your
representative?___________________________________________________________
______
Who will arrange a preparatory meeting for your
delegation?_____________________________
Determine prep meeting
location:___________________________________________________
Determine prep meeting
time:_____________________________________________________
Who will prepare “Leave Behind”
materials?_________________________________________

Date to Complete Step
2:_________________________________________________________




                                           6
                                  Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                              Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.



Step 3: Follow-Up
Who will do the follow-up with your representative and how (email/letter/face-to-
face/phone
call)?___________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
____________

Date to Complete Step
3:_________________________________________________________




                                       7
                                     Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                                Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.



               Legislative Action Strategic Plan
                                     (AID Copy)

Now that you have the skills to organize an In-District Meeting, complete the document
below to help you plan and put your skills to action! Once completed, you may provide a
copy to an AID representative for guidance and to help you with any resources you may
need.

Step 1: Requesting an In-District Meeting
Determine meeting
location:______________________________________________________
Determine meeting
time:_________________________________________________________
Choose a
delegation:____________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
______
Who will send a letter or call your representative to request a
meeting?_____________________
Who will follow-up on your request and
when?________________________________________

Date to Complete Step
1:_________________________________________________________

Step 2: Preparing for the In-District Meeting
Who will contact your delegation to relay your meeting time and place with your
representative?___________________________________________________________
______
Who will arrange a preparatory meeting for your
delegation?_____________________________
Determine prep meeting
location:___________________________________________________
Determine prep meeting
time:_____________________________________________________
Who will prepare “Leave Behind”
materials?_________________________________________

Date to Complete Step
2:_________________________________________________________




                                           8
                                  Awareness. Advocacy. Action.
                              Leaders of tomorrow creating change today.



Step 3: Follow-Up
Who will do the follow-up with your representative and how (email/letter/face-to-
face/phone
call)?___________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
____________

Date to Complete Step
3:_________________________________________________________




                                       9

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:82
posted:5/28/2010
language:English
pages:9