Summer Lobbying — Having a Blast!August 16, 2011
Ah, summertime. Constituent meetings, public events, and congressional town halls provide excellent opportunities for women’s rights advocacy! You can meet your congresswomen and men during the summer — but you need a plan, tenacity, and a little AAUW street cred.
So here are my top 10 tips for summer lobbying:
- Know your representative. Call and ask for details about the next town hall — date, time, location, format for questions, and whether your representative will pose for photos. Phone numbers are on the representative’s website. Ask to be added to the e-mail list — many town halls happen with little notice other than an e-mail. Research your representative’s position on your issues with AAUW’s most recent Congressional Voting Record.
- Develop your town hall question using facts from AAUW’s Two-Minute Activist or AAUW public policy materials. E-mail your question to the district director before the meeting. Practice your question ahead of time and limit it to one minute. Arrive early and ask staff how to get your question asked.
- Ask for an office meeting with your representative. Follow AAUW’s guide to getting a district office meeting. If you are offered a meeting with staff, take it! Often staffers are the key to meaningful work on important issues.
- There is strength in numbers. If you are attending a town hall or office meeting, make sure your representative knows that your views represent AAUW. Remind staff members that AAUW has 1,000 branches.
- Just drop in to your congressional district office! Most district offices are open during regular office hours to receive constituents. You might get lucky and meet the representative, but if not, bring AAUW materials to leave for your representative with a note requesting a future meeting.
- Ask for a picture. Ask if your group can meet with your representative before or after the meeting for a picture. Use your two-minute “grip and grin” to pitch your question or issue! Follow up by e-mailing a digital copy of the picture to your representative’s press secretary or chief of staff. Consider sending the picture with a brief article to local papers for publication.
- Just do it. You need to show up for democracy to happen!
- Commit to virtual lobbying from the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Sign up for AAUW’s Action Network and become a two-minute activist.
- Questions? E-mail us or call 202.785.7793 to talk to our policy and grassroots experts in the AAUW national office!
- Remember to let AAUW know about your summer lobbying by filling out the event report-back form! Your stories and pictures can inspire other AAUW members to make a difference this summer.
And remember to have a blast!