Remember how much you loved recess when you were in school? How you looked forward to it? How about show and tell? August 2nd ushered in the Summer Recess for Congress – they go home, go on vacation, and spend time with their constituents. This is perfect timing for you, as a social sector leader, to get into the school spirit and offer your own brand of “show and tell.” Our leaders – at the local, state, and federal level – need us, as experts in the industry, to help educate them on our issues. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to offer tours of your facilities. Whether your elected official or one of their key staffers comes, you will have the opportunity to showcase your organization and the issues your clients face in a meaningful way. In fact, elected officials often look for ways to interact with the community – especially while on recess – in order to learn more and connect with their constituents. Here is the step-by-step process:
- Email your elected officials’ district director
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing as a constituent of [state/district name] on behalf of [organization name], which is located in [location, if relevant]. I would like to request a meeting (or offer to host a tour) with you or a person in your staff (and of course, Representative [name], if [his/her] schedule allows) to discuss issues related to [X].
[Insert one-two sentences summarizing your organization’s work. Don’t forget to research and highlight any special connections your representative and/or staff may have to your issues or organization].
Please let me know if there is a day/time between [August dates] that would work best for you and your staff to meet. I look forward to hearing back from you soon and answering any questions you may have.
- Follow-up after a few days via phone to check-in, if you have not heard anything
- Schedule meeting/tour: be sure to invite constituents, when possible
- Develop agenda: use our helpful hints on meetings and storytelling
- Conduct tour/meeting: try to take pictures to include in your newsletter. Pictures are a great way to get your story from your newsletter to their newsletter
- Send thank you note afterward
- Keep them abreast of updates and stay in touch at least every other month with a quick note
Ronald Reagan, former President and actor, did it best by always being aware of his surroundings and how they supported his story. People respond to stories and organizations they can visualize – and people in Congress are no different. When you seize your opportunity to show your organization and tell its story, people will want to support it. The recess bell is ringing – it’s time to shine!