How to Plan Your In-District Visit
There are three components to planning in-district CNMA advocacy visits:
- Review the CNMA Grassroots Guide in the links or contact your local chapter leadership for information on priority visits in your district and other local CNMs interested in advocacy
- Schedule appointments with legislators and/or their staff, and
- Coordinate with other local CNM participants for "team visits" when possible
Contacting your district office
You should request an appointment with your legislator by calling the your legislator's District Office. Find the name of your legislator and his/her address here. We recommend that you contact the office at least two weeks before you would like to come in. If offices do not respond within three days, make a follow up phone call—request to speak to the office’s scheduler, and make sure you get a name if they are unavailable. Call regularly, be polite, and always leave your contact information.
As you work to schedule your visits, you should be in communication with your "team" or partner—they will want to attend the meeting, so their availability is important to consider in the scheduling process. Please let the CNMA In-District Coordinator (Hannah: email@example.com) know of your scheduled appointments or if you are having a difficult time making contact).
Don’t hesitate to schedule a visit with a staff member if your legislator is unavailable to meet with you. It’s always exciting to meet elected officials (and take photos with them!), but staff are critical members of the legislative team, providing the legislator with advice and information on specific issue areas, such as health care or women’s issues. Building a strong relationship with staffers can be very productive, especially since they may work for several legislators over time or even run for office themselves one day.
Once your visits are finalized and confirmed, you should contact your "team" (if there is a "team") and let them know of the meeting time and place. At this point you will know how many individuals each office can accommodate, so this is your maximum "team" size of other CNM constituents. It might be helpful to organize a practice session, whether it be a group phone call or Skype session ahead of time or meeting a couple of hours before your scheduled meeting. It may be helpful to figure out who will cover which talking point, practice via role-plays, watch a video, whatever you feel your group needs.
Below you’ll find our suggested timeline for planning your CNMA advocacy visits and trainings. This timeline is only a guideline. Feel free to plan your visit as soon as possible! We trust your judgment but please keep the In-District Coordinator updated on where you are in the scheduling process and post-visit, too!
- Contact your chapter chair or HP member, Hannah Bronksky-Pena, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call legislative offices to request appointments
- Gather background information about your legislator(s)
- Follow up with scheduling appointment or call to confirm
- Let CNMA know if you would like additional supportive materials (talking points, videos, etc).
- Coordinate with team members (if more than 1) on meeting times/locations.
- Meet with team members before meetings to review talking points.