2018 National Lobby Day Preparation

Thank you for participating in Move to Amend's National Lobby Day on June 11, 2018!

Lobbying is an effort made to influence the actions of elected officials. Your elected officials are  in office to represent you, their constituent. It is their job to listen to your concerns and to take  them into account when making decisions. 

We will use our Lobby Day to:

  • Educate our legislators about corporate constitutional rights and money in politics
  • Identify whether they are a supporter of Move to Amend, an opponent, or undecided  
  • Move supporters to become champions, or undecided individuals to become supporters  
  • Soften or neutralize our opponents

This year we will have folks lobbying at the District offices of their federal legislators, as well as in Washington, D.C. Additionally we will be sending action alerts to encourage phone calls and emails from all Move to Amend supporters the week before and the week of Lobby Day to help generate buzz and momentum.

→ FOR THOSE TRAVELING TO D.C. Fill out this form here. Be sure that they have included not just a room number, but the building as well -- often the meeting will take place in a different building than that of the legislators' office.

→ FOR THOSE ORGANIZING DISTRICT MEETINGS. Fill out this form here.

→ FOR THOSE MAKING PHONE CALLS TO CONGRESS. Read this citizens' lobbying guide.

Table of Contents

Click title to jump down to the section you want:


Webinar Overview

Here's the recording of our April 12 2016 webinar where we walked through all the details to prepare you for this event.

Pre-Meeting Preparation

Become acquainted with what you will be asking for. Check out these resources:

Practice telling your story. We encourage you to practice telling your story in advance to increase confidence for your meetings.

Learn more about your Senators and Representatives. It is helpful to familiarize yourself with your members’ priorities and views by visiting their websites at www.senate.gov or www.house.gov. Also check to see if they have co-sponsored any of the competing amendment resolutions.

Be prepared to meet with your legislator’s legislative assistant. Your legislator may not attend the meeting. Staff may be young, but they are instrumental in shaping the legislator’s views. It is not unusual for the legislator to defer to his/her staff for an opinion on your issue. It is important to demonstrate respect to everyone you encounter during your visit.

Bring contact information. A business card from work, or a 2 x 3.5 inch card you print yourself, should contain your name, address and email information. 

Plan to dress appropriately. Please wear clean and appropriate professional attire (suits, dress pants; shirts with ties; dresses; skirts and blouses; etc.) for your meetings with lawmakers. No jeans, sandals, flip flops or printed tee shirts. 

Schedule Your Meeting(s)

Scheduling of appointments should start about 3-4 weeks before Lobby Day. Note that many offices will not confirm a meeting until 1 week out. As constituents you are more likely to get a meeting scheduled, which is why Move to Amend National is not scheduling the meetings for you.

Our suggestion is that you schedule meetings with BOTH your Senators to ask them to introduce a companion bill to House Joint Resolution 48, AND your House Representative, to secure co-sponsorship of House Joint Resolution 48. If your Representative is already a co-sponsor please meet with them anyway to thank them for their support, check in to see if they can suggest additional colleagues to approach and make sure they are ready to co-sponsor again next year.

Appointments may either be made by emailing the legislator’s scheduling person, or by phone. Every office differs in their preferred scheduling process, so please check with them to determine which process to use. Be sure to be persistent if you don't get a response, and don't just rely on email alone!

Phone Script

“Hello, my name is [name] from Move to Amend. May I please speak to the scheduler?” (Write down the scheduler’s name. Be sure to get the correct spelling.)

“I am a constituent of Representative / Senator [NAME] and I will be in Washington, D.C. on June 11 for a Lobby Day with Move to Amend. We would like to schedule a meeting with Representative / Senator [NAME] and/or her/his Legislative staff person to discuss the We the People Amendment (currently House Joint Resolution 48) and the importance of addressing the problem of big money in elections and corporate influence over the political and legal process."

"May we do this on the phone, or would you prefer an email or fax?”

At this point, you may either continue, or take down the email address. Although you should make every effort to get a meeting with the legislator, many times you will be referred to the appropriate staff person, e.g., the one who handles legislative or government affairs issues.

If you are able to continue on the phone, let the scheduler know who is coming:

“At this time, the following people will be attending: [list names and affiliations].

We would like to schedule a meeting between the hours of 9:30am-1pm.”

Note: You may have to contact the office several times before someone returns your call or confirms an appointment. Be persistent and proactive—you are calling as a voting constituent!

Sample Email

Dear [Name of Scheduler],

Volunteers with the national Move to Amend campaign will be in Washington, D.C. on June 11. We would very much appreciate a meeting with [Senator]/[Representative] [Name] and/or [his]/[her] Legislative staff person to discuss the We the People Amendment (currently House Joint Resolution 48) and the importance of addressing the problem of big money in elections and corporate influence over the political and legal process. 

Among attendees will be [Insert names of participants from the Rep’s home state and their towns]. There may be others at the meeting as well, but I am unable to confirm the names at this time.

A meeting between the hours of 9:30am-1:00pm would be ideal.

Thank you so much for your consideration of our request.

Cordially,

[Your name]

Be sure to let us know the details of your meeting in advance! 

→ FOR THOSE TRAVELING TO D.C. Fill out this form here. Be sure that they have included not just a room number, but the building as well -- often the meeting will take place in a different building than that of the legislators' office.

→ FOR THOSE ORGANIZING DISTRICT MEETINGS. Fill out this form here

What to Expect (for those traveling to Washington, D.C.)

We will be conducting a lobbying trainings at the Leadership Summit. Everyone is strongly encouraged to attend one of these sessions. We will also be providing you a packet of information to take to your visit (which is another reason why it is important that you tell us ahead of time which meetings you have secured).

We will take the Metro together from Trinity University on Monday morning. Please note that there will be security checkpoints with metal detectors as you enter each building that will take time to get through. Promptness is critical, so give yourself plenty of time to reach your legislator’s office. Each lawmaker has multiple appointments on any given day, and time is precious. You can expect about 15 to 20 minutes of time with the legislator and/or his or her staff for your visit. The location can range from a cramped conference room or noisy hallway to the Member’s personal office space.

Comfortable shoes are encouraged as there may be is a significant amount of walking. Business attire is strongly encouraged.

Note that the usual high temperature in June is 80-90 degrees and humid; the average low temperature is usually 60-65 degrees, and rain showers are very common. Please dress prepared for the typical weather. Bring an umbrella.

Meeting Tips

Visit as a group if possible. The leader should start and conclude the meeting. One group member must take notes and report back the details of each meeting. Make sure you assign this task in your group before you are at the visit!

The constituents are most important. The legislators’ primary concern is whether you can elect him or her into office. If you live in the district you are important. The spokesperson should begin the meeting by identifying himself/herself as a constituent and introducing all participants, and briefly identify your request early in case time runs short.

Cover the priority issue. Now is the time you’ve been waiting for. Tell your story, and explain why passing the We the People Amendment is important to you. Make your remarks brief and to the point. Encourage them to learn more and do more.

Stay on topic. Be careful: a little chit-chat is acceptable, but be sure to stay on topic and not be drawn into storytelling—you’ll never know where the time went! Be concise and stick to the issue at hand, but do not rush the conversation. Don’t make statements that assume that others share your political views and be respectful when talking about all political leaders.

Solicit the legislator’s views on this issue. Review your request and do some research on your legislator. Has your legislator taken the Pledge to Amend? Have they endorsed other amendment measures? If they have shown support for similar measures thank them appropriately and encourage them to sign on to the We the People Amendment. If there is disagreement, avoid arguing with your legislator or their staff. Listen to his/her perspective and then present your views. You will enhance your effectiveness if you can demonstrate a willingness to participate in a friendly exchange of ideas. Record the response of your legislator to facilitate follow-up.

Conclude your meeting. Make sure your legislator and/or staff has a copy of the briefing information and your primary contact information. Thank them for their time and offer to be a resource to them going forward.

Take a picture! Especially if you are a group, take your picture with your legislator or their staffer -- this is a historic day!

Meeting Followup

Thank Yous. Send a thank you letter to your Legislator or their staffer following the meeting. We will provide an example in your packet (download link - coming soon!). Thank the legislator and/or staff person for their time and reiterate your “ask” that they co-sponsor HJR 48. Put this letter in the mail as soon as you get home or mail it before you leave.

Evaluations. We will be providing evaluation forms for the Summit and Lobby Day. (Move to Amend Affiliates also note that we will also use time on the June 19 Coalition Call to discuss Lobby Day and followup.)

Meeting Report Back Forms. We will collect Meeting Report Back Forms during lunch, before you head home, so that everyone knows what kind of follow up is needed, while it is still fresh in your mind.

Follow Up. One of the most important aspects of a lobby day is the follow up.

It will also be important to follow up a month or 6 weeks later if your legislator or their staff person did not give you a clear answer, or gave you a positive answer but then did not follow through with their commitment. Whether this is done by phone or email, or even in person at a home state site visit, the staffer and legislator will know you are serious if you follow up. Always be friendly and professional, and offer to provide additional information if it will help them to make a decision.

It can help to set up an additional in-District meeting as part of this follow up.

Additional Resources