Congress at Home: The Power of In-Person Meetings
When members of Congress aren't in Washington, D.C., they want to meet with constituents and hear from voters back home. This is where Congress at Home comes in. Congress at Home gives you and other Diabetes Advocates a chance to talk about diabetes and the critical need to support legislation to fund research, support accessible health care and affordable insulin and much more.
Face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to make a difference in how lawmakers understand diabetes legislation. As a constituent, your voice is taken seriously—you're the reason they’re in office!
Look for congressional recess periods to set up your meetings—it’s when your legislators will be at home.
Ready to start now?
Set up your meeting
Your meetings with members of Congress can take many forms—town halls, community events, July Fourth parades and more. Click here for more ideas. What’s important is for your elected officials to hear from you and to understand why they should support people with diabetes.
- Start by sending a meeting request to your representative and senators. We have drafted a template email you can use.
- Find the right email addresses by going to your members’ congressional websites, or simply call their offices and ask for the email address you need.
- Follow up, and be politely persistent. If a scheduler or staff member has not responded after three or four days, call them and ask for an update and see if there’s any additional info you can provide.
Prepare for the meeting
Once you notify us that your meeting is scheduled, we’ll send you an electronic meeting kit. This kit will include everything you need to prepare for and hold your meeting.
You will get: "A What Do I Talk About?" document, fact sheets for our key issues and documents for printing and leaving behind with your congressional office.
- Review and print this document to leave behind with your members of Congress:
Congress at Home Fact Sheets for Print
- Recruit others to join you in your meeting. Think of friends and family affected by diabetes and ask them to attend.
- Coordinate talking points with other meeting participants.
- Review these prep documents to help you know what to say in your meetings:
What Can I Talk About?—Includes talking points for all of our current federal asks (PDF).
After the meeting
- Send a thank you letter for the meeting reiterating the key asks and referencing specific discussion points.
- If you were in touch with the scheduler, email this person directly to thank them for their help in setting up the meeting.
- And most importantly: Let American Diabetes Association (ADA) staff know about your meeting by filling out the short form at diabetes.org/reportit. This is CRITICAL as it allows ADA to take necessary next steps.
What’s next: Keep up the drumbeat
Follow up matters. It extends the interaction with your member’s office and can amplify the messages delivered in your visit. Be creative in thinking of ways to make your follow-up as public as possible, in a way that is visible to your member’s office.
- Use your own social media channels to post photos from your meeting, tag your member on key votes or as a random throwback Thursday post, even weeks or months after your meeting.
- Follow and regularly monitor members’ social media accounts; watch for additional opportunities for face-to-face encounters.
- Submit a letter to the editor or Op Ed piece to raise awareness about one of our issues and reference recent meetings with your members. For assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congress at Home Training Resources:
June 2019 Webinar: Connecting with Congress: Making the Most of Congress at Home
In August, your members of Congress will be at home meeting constituents to find out what their voters care most about. The ADA's Congress at Home initiative is an opportunity for Diabetes Advocates to meet with members of Congress in their community to tell their story and ask for support for key policy priorities. Learn about: how these meetings fit into ADA's advocacy strategy, ADA federal policy priorities and status updates and best practices to schedule meetings and resources to support you every step of the way.
July 2019 Webinar: Congress at Home Prep Webinar 2: Priority Messaging, Policy Asks & the Very Latest from Capitol Hill
In this critically important Congress at Home Prep webinar, ADA staff share the very latest developments on Capitol Hill and walk through key messaging and asks Diabetes Advocates should use during congressional meetings at home this August. Participants will also hear about best practices to hold effective and successful meeting with members of Congress and their staff during the congressional recess. This is a 'can't miss' webinar that will provide critical information, updates and resources vital to advocates in order to hold worthwhile meetings with their members of Congress.