Did you know that an individualized email to your legislator has nearly the same impact as an in-person visit? This is true according to findings by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), which just released its latest report Citizen-Centric Advocacy: The Untapped Power of Constituent Engagement.

For more than a decade, the CMF has conducted research and published their findings which have helped shape the way we advocate. The CMF surveys congressional office leaders on the impact that different methods of communication have on officials, of particular importance is when officials have not already arrived at a firm decision on an issue.

Form emails, such as what is linked to in the calls to action CAI sends, are effective, but are unfortunately half as influential as an individualized email or in-person visit.

What if you don’t have the time to draft a personalized email or drop by the district office? Phone calls to your representatives’ offices are an effective and efficient way to advocate, according to the report.

What is most important to convey during your communication, whether it is in-person, via email or telephone? The study found the following:

1.       Identify yourself as a constituent
2.       State your reasons for supporting the bill or issue
3.       Offer a personal story related to the bill or issue
4.       Provide information about the impact the bill would have on the district or state
5.       Make a specific request or “ask” (such as, support this bill or oppose this bill)

The CAI Government and Public Affairs Department strives to engage our members in meaningful advocacy efforts. The most efficient way we do so is providing our members with readily available language so they may near-effortlessly act. Providing this means is an effort to show strength in numbers. However, we do need our members to reach out to their officials (local, state, and federal) and tell their story. So if you see one of our calls to action that resonates, please take the time to call, write or visit your legislator. Always feel free to reach out to us and we can provide you with guidance and resources.

CAI Government Affairs will also be distributing our own survey in the very near future. For those of you that are long time members, you may recall filling out a survey telling us about the relationships you may have with local, state or federal officials. For those new to CAI, this survey helps us understand our members’ relationships and advocacy interests. We appreciate your participation in the survey.

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Matthew Green

Director, State Affairs

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