Recess: Congress is Out But There’s Still Plenty To Do
August can be a slow month for the advocacy community with Congress out of session until early September. However, your advocacy programs can still make the most of the summer lull to bolster your ability to press for legislative priorities in the fall term.
Here are a few ways to sustain activity during the recess:
Advocate in the District
Surrounded by constituents and electors, members of congress are particularly impressionable in their home districts.
- Run an advertisement in the local newspaper.
- Schedule meetings with advocates or plan an event in the district.
Evaluate Your Progress
Hold internal meetings of staff and/or volunteers to evaluate the progress of your advocacy program. Look back to see what your program has accomplished thus far this year.
- Is your advocacy program on track?
- Does your organization have significant legislative achievements?
Take the time to examine the metrics of your grassroots advocacy program and decide if the resources are appropriately allocated. Ensure that your grasstops, grassroots, direct lobbying, and public affairs are synced.
Meet with Congressional Staff
August is a perfect time to meet with your representative’s and/or senator’s staffs to explain your issues and their impacts.
Congressional staff are not under as much pressure, which means they can take more time to discuss your concerns.
Plan for the Remaining Year
Develop your content calendars and strategic plans for upcoming fall initiatives.
Work with your marketing and communications teams/partners to develop fresh content for both advocates and elected officials.
Hold a “Welcome Back” for Congress
Plan an event for when Congress is back in session. Host an information session or reception during early September.
Pivot Away from Congress Altogether
On the other hand, if you need a reprieve from interacting with Congress, you can:
Shift to Regulatory Work
Executive departments and agencies have active comment periods in August. August can also be a time when your organization meets with regulatory officials in lieu of a full slate of congressional meetings.
Shift to Your Advocates
Build a new tool to improve your advocacy program. Write (or update) a social media guide for your grassroots advocates. Prepare to launch a new website or release a video or animation explaining an issue. Take the time to add to your grassroots toolkit.
Shift to States and Localities
Several state legislatures are still in session and will continue to produce legislation alongside municipal governments. Demonstrate that your advocacy program is involved at all levels of government by submitting comments or attending a meeting outside the nation’s capital.
Joshua Habursky is the Grassroots Manager at the American Motorcyclist Association.