Keep NMTC in the Forefront of Their Minds
A one-on-one meeting with your Senators and Representatives, or their staff, to discuss the issues carries much more weight than signing a petition, sending a letter, or making a phone call. Make your visit a success by following these pointers:
Preparing for the Meeting
- Know the politician. Find out their background, information on the committees they’re on, and other positions they hold that might be relevant. This information helps draw a direct link between the Senator or Representative and your advocacy efforts.
- Focus on one issue. You won’t have time to deal with more than one issue well at the meeting; every additional issue that you raise will be less important to the representative or their staff.
- Know the issue. If you don’t already know, learn the facts, figures, arguments, and counter-arguments surrounding the issue before your meeting. Knowledge is the cornerstone of advocacy.
- Make it personal. Sharing a real-life example of how your organization has impacted their district will put a human face on the work you do.
- Call us. We are here to help our members successfully frame the issues and understand them inside out. Our office can offer talking points, issue briefs, research, and specific information about the Senators and Representatives that you are going to meet.
At the Meeting
- Don’t skip the preliminaries. Introduce everyone present and their organizations. Thank the legislator for the opportunity to meet. Confirm how much time you have and respect those limits.
- Designate one person as the lead speaker. Cutting down on the number of people talking shows consensus, allows the Senator and Representative, and their staff, to focus on the message, and reduces the chances of getting sidetracked.
- Listen. Finding out their views is just as important as conveying yours. Ask genuine questions and respect their answers. They often contain valuable information.
- Be clear and ask for what you want. Don’t walk away from a Congressional meeting without asking your Senators and Representatives to take the specific action that you want them to take.
- If the Member of Congress is not a supporter of the NMTC permanency bills (S. 384 in the Senate; H.R. 1098 in the Senate), ask them to cosponsor the bill. Provide them with a current copy of the fact sheet on the NMTC bills.
- End with thank you. Regardless of the outcome, thank your Senators and Representatives for the opportunity to meet and raise your concerns. Don’t forget to thank their staff as well.
After the Meeting
- Follow up. Send your Senators and Representatives a formal thank you, forward any additional information, and create a written confirmation of any agreed-to actions.