As beneficial as it is to understand best practices when advocating on behalf of NARFE, it is equally important to understand what not to do when communicating with legislators and congressional staff. Let’s review the top three things according to the Congressional Management Foundation that congressional staff do not like to hear during congressional meetings.
3) Argumentative Meeting Attendees
There is a difference between disagreeing about a policy and arguing with a legislator or staff. Disagreement and healthy debate about an issue are fine; arguing is not. You will be remembered, but not in a good way, and your actions may cast a shadow over NARFE.
2) Frustration When Space is Limited
Congressional offices are small. If you have more than five people in your group, you may be left standing out in the hallway or in the front of the office. Plus, having many people talking at once dilutes the impact of NARFE’s message. Try to limit your group to no more than five people. If you do have a large group, assign a few people (specifically constituents) the responsibility of delivering the message. Always, before you meet, alert the staffer to how many people will be in attendance.
And the number one pet peeve of congressional staff is:
1) Meetings with Non-Constituents
Members of Congress are elected to represent their constituents. Period. If you are not a constituent or are not connected to the constituents as a representative of NARFE, you are not relevant to them. If you are interested in representing NARFE to engage your legislator, connect with your federation leadership or the NARFE advocacy department to determine how you can best advocate on behalf of NARFE.
If you have accidentally done these things, don’t worry. Use this knowledge to create a more productive meeting environment for the future.
Report Back After Your Meeting or Event
Share your advocacy activity with the advocacy department by completing the Congressional Meeting or Event Feedback Form on NARFE's Legislative Action Center.
NARFE's August 2018 Legislative Priorities
Click on the links below to call, tweet, or email your legislators via NARFE's Legislative Action Center regarding NARFE's legislative priorities.
If you aren’t planning to attend a congressional meeting this August you can take action in plenty of other ways:
Attend a congressional town hall (click here to learn about town hall meetings near you)
Engage your legislators and their staff at community events, such as state fairs and parades
Learn more about how to protect your earned pay and benefits in the Grassroots Advocacy Month page of the NARFE website here.
Now go advocate! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about Grassroots Advocacy Month.