Special Delivery! Get Your Elected Official’s Attention

Want to meet with an elected official about a policy issue? Want to spotlight that issue in the media? Want a fun and easy action members can participate in? Making a delivery to an elected official’s office is the answer! And we’re here to help — consider us your resource and sounding board. If you’re not already in touch with us, please e-mail us at advocacy@aauw.org.

What Is a Delivery to an Elected Official?

Deliveries can take on many forms, and the options are numerous. Your delivery can be a surprise drop-in, or it can be part of a scheduled in-district meeting, town hall, press conference, or rally. Hint: The media really likes surprise deliveries. And don’t worry; elected officials are used to them.

AAUW branch presidents meet with Sen. Amy Klobuchar's (D-MN) aides during the 2011 AAUW National Convention in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of AAUW Minnesota)

AAUW branch presidents meet with Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s (D-MN) aides during the 2011 AAUW National Convention in Washington, DC. (Photo courtesy of AAUW Minnesota)

What Should We Deliver?

What you choose to deliver should be a reflection of the issue at hand. It could be a petition or a stack of letters. It could be an alarm clock as a symbol expressing, “The time is now!” It could be a cookie missing 23 percent to symbolize the need for equal pay. It could be a small diploma missing 7 percent alongside a regular, full-sized diploma to symbolize how female college students are graduating to a pay gap. The options are endless, so get creative! The key is to view what you deliver as symbolic. Hint: The more creative and visual you are, the more the media will be interested.

What Do We Say?

Think of a delivery like an elevator speech with three basic components: You want someone to tell their personal story about the issue, you want to then talk about what is at stake with the issue and why AAUW cares about it, and then you want to conclude with an ask (typically to support a piece of legislation). No need to be lengthy — it’s best to keep your remarks short.

What Are the Steps for Planning a Delivery?

Below is a sample step-by-step process for planning and executing your event.

  1. Decide what policy issue you want your delivery to focus on (it’s best to choose just one topic).
  2. Determine what type of delivery you want to do (surprise delivery, as part of in-district meeting, etc.)
  3. Set the date and time of your event.
  4. Invite members to join in the delivery. (Hint: you don’t need a lot of people to make a delivery a success — around five people is ideal.)
  5. Make sure you have all the necessary materials (e.g. a folder with information about AAUW, one-pagers on the policy issue, a camera, the item to be delivered).
  6. Make reminder calls to everyone who sent their RSVP two to three days before your delivery.
  7. Send out a media advisory to local media outlets two to three days before your delivery (learn more about working with the media).
  8. Make another round of RSVP calls the day before or day of your delivery.
  9. Resend the media advisory the day before or day of your delivery.
  10. Follow up with calls to local reporters the morning of your delivery. (Hint: you want to do this early in the morning.)
  11. Report to us on your delivery by filling out this form.
  12. Make follow-up calls to each of the attendees thanking them for coming and reminding them of how to get more involved.
  13. Alert the attendees to follow-up actions as appropriate.

What Else Should We Know?

Here are a few additional thoughts and reminders:

  • If you are going with a surprise drop-in, you may be meeting with a member of the staff as opposed to the actual elected official (and that is totally OK! Staff members are the eyes and ears for elected officials).
  • If you want to increase the chances of meeting with your actual member of Congress, schedule your in-district meeting during a congressional recess (which typically occur around holidays).
  • Doing your delivery as part of a town hall is a great way to surprise an elected official — the elected official will be the one holding the town hall, there is already built-in crowd, and there will likely already be media in attendance.
  • Nine times out of 10, what you deliver will be accepted with no issue. However, if an elected official or staff member refuses your delivery, don’t sweat it. Remember, it’s meant to be symbolic — they don’t have to accept the delivered item for you to make your point.

Request Resources

Don’t worry, we will provide you with assistance throughout your entire planning process — just e-mail us. We can assist you with any of the following, and more:

  • Any and all handouts (one-pagers, brochures, etc.)
  • Invite template and script for reminder calls to those who RSVP
  • Sending out an invite via Action Network
  • Instructions on setting up an event on Facebook
  • Suggestions on what to deliver and how
  • Sample media advisory and call script for reminding reporters
  • Training materials on meeting with an elected official
  • Coaching on the overall planning and execution of your delivery

Report Back

Don’t forget to let us know how your delivery went by filling out this form.

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