It's fly-in day and you have a motivated group of advocates from all over the country and meetings scheduled with multiple Members of Congress. But have you checked every item off the pre fly-in checklist? Have you set your organization up for success? Ninety-seven percent of staffers say in-person visits from constituents influence their boss. With that percentage, it's clear that an advocacy fly-in could be vital to your organization or campaign.
In our most recent webinar, The Fly-In Checklist - the Online & Offline To-Do List for Your Upcoming Meetings on Capitol Hill, we discussed best tips to get the most out of your Hill Day. Here are some of the top takeaways:
- Create a Legislator Profile for your advocates. Not knowing a member's stance on an issue, or what committees they serve on, can ruin a meeting. Additionally, potential common connections, even as small as the same alma mater, can be crucial to leaving a memorable impression on a legislator.
- Remember the 3 H's: Head, Heart, and Health. Thoroughly research them and have arguments for all three to distribute to all advocates prior to the fly-in:
- Head: The rational reasoning on the issue.
- Heart: The personal story about the issue.
- Health: The direct impact on the District or State.
- Think about a "Read Ahead" instead of a "Leave Behind." Ninety-four percent of Congressional staffers say that a 1-2 page issue summary is useful. CMF actually recommends providing this information as a "Read Ahead" in advance of the meeting. Staff can then use your exact language in their pre-meeting brief for their boss, which guarantees your message doesn't get diluted.
- Don't forget about the online component. You're already training your advocates on talking points, so why not include a swift social media training as well? Set-up a hashtag for your Hill Day, gather relevant Twitter handles or draft messaging, make sure each advocate is armed with a camera phone, and get those boots on the ground!
These tips just scratch the surface on how to make your advocacy fly-in successful, so make sure to check out the full webinar here. For other resources, let the Digital Advocacy Institute website be a toolkit for you and your constituents.