Meet with Your Members of Congress
Your advocacy and engagement with your members of Congress is vital to working for peace in the Holy Land. CMEP is committed to supporting that work and providing resources to help you build a relationship with your members of Congress.
Building a Relationship With Your Members of Congress
You have the power to influence your members of Congress and change policy in Washington. It may not feel that way sometimes, but elected officials want to hear from their constituents, and that means you. If you want to be an effective voice for peace and influence your senators and representative on their approach to Middle East peace then you need to build a relationship with your elected officials based on trust and the honest exchange of ideas. It is important to keep in mind that this is a long-term relationship. Communicating with Congress is about more than just sending an occasional email -- it involves a consistent engagement with congressional offices. The good news is that there are many ways that you can advocate on the issues you care about and they can all be a part of a long-term strategy to influence your elected officials on the issues that matter to you.
The best way to have an impact on your elected officials and influence policy is to visit your members of Congress in their congressional offices either in your home state or district, or in Washington, DC. Face-to-face meetings with your members of Congress or their staff is by far the most effective means of influencing your senators or representatives. The Congressional Management Foundation found that more than 90 percent of congressional staff said that constituent visits to the Washington office and local offices have a lot or some influence on an undecided Member of Congress.
While organizing a meeting can take a lot of time and energy, it can also have a huge return. You can play in influential role in your elected official’s policy or voting decisions and can work to build a relationship that will grow that influence. CMEP has several resources that can help you with planning a lobby visit:
- Tips for Organizing a Lobby Visit
- Crafting Your Message for Congress
- Meeting Plan/Agenda
- Lobby Meeting Talking Points
Write, Email, or Call Your Member of Congress
Writing an email or placing a phone call to your members of Congress are good ways way to let them know what you think in a timely and efficient way. Internet and email communications have allowed people around the country to be more involved in public policy and have also made elected officials more responsive to their constituents.
CMEP frequently gives you the tools to write your elected officials on important issues in a timely fashion. Our action alerts provide suggested text for a message to your member of Congress (which can also serve as talking points for a phone call). But if you personalize your message it can exponentially increase your impact. A recent report by the Congressional Management Foundation found that approximately 80 percent of congressional staff think that personalized emails and letters can have a lot or some influence on a members’ decision. That number drops down to around three percent if your communication is a form email or letter. So take the time to personalize your message, including the subject line, by including details about why it is important to you and your community.
Raise Your Issue in the Media
You can also influence your members of Congress by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Members of Congress do look to the local media to see what their constituents are thinking and gauge public opinion. By specifically mentioning your elected officials by name and stating the action or position you’d like them to take, you can be sure they will take notice. For additional tips on writing letters to the editor, check out CMEP’s guide.