Summer is almost here, and that means legislative recesses and state session adjournments. This is the perfect time for advocates like you to engage with your elected officials at all levels of government by inviting them to attend your community association events, your board meeting, or asking to meet with them at their district office to discuss priority issues for your community. We’re launching our annual Constituents in Your Communities campaign to help support your outreach efforts. Throughout 2019, we will share helpful tips and tricks to build and strengthen your relationships with your elected officials so they become knowledgeable and more supportive of the diverse issues that impact community associations.

Tip #1 – Ask Early, Ask Often

Elected officials are busy and often have appointments booked back-to-back weeks in advance. That’s why we encourage you to reach out to your legislator’s office early to maximize your chances of being added to their schedule. You can find your elected officials here.

We encourage you to give their office a call or use our customizable invitation to email your elected officials. When communicating with the scheduler, be sure to include key information such as:

  • Your name
  • Your relationship to the community association (e.g. homeowner, community manager, board member, etc.)
  • Your contact information
  • Details about your event
    • When/where/what time is your event?
    • What kind of event are you hosting? (e.g. ice cream social, board meeting, July 4 celebration)
    • How many people do you expect to attend?
    • How do you want your elected official to participate? (e.g. provide remarks, meet with community association members, speak with the board)

You may find that a scheduler may respond almost instantaneously, or you may find weeks go by. Both are fine! If you don’t hear back from a scheduler within a few days, it could be because they typically respond to event requests only a few weeks in advance of the event, or they could be busy and may have missed your email. It’s ok to follow up, just space out your emails or calls to once a week at most.

Remember to be respectful and most importantly flexible with elected officials’ schedules. They may not be available for your date, so ask the scheduler when they are next available. If you can, propose multiple dates from the start to increase scheduling opportunities.

Check out our Constituents in Your Communities toolkit for additional support at www.caionline.org/HostYourLegislator. If you have any questions or would like assistance, please contact Crystal Espie, Manager of Government Affairs at government@caionline.org.

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Crystal Espie

Espie serves as Manager of Government Affairs and recently joined Community Associations Institute after four years at Meals on Wheels America serving as the Senior Manager of Advocacy and Engagement, and nearly two years as a Legislative Fellow with AARP’s State Advocacy and Strategy Integration team. Espie is the lead staff for CAI’s grassroots advocacy initiatives and social media presence. She also works closely with CAI’s legislative action committees and manages the annual Advocacy Summit on Capitol Hill.

Espie holds a Master’s in Public Administration with concentrations in State and Local Management and Applied Politics, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and an undergraduate certificate in Women, Policy & Political Leadership from American University.

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