Guide to Visiting Elected Officials

Plan to visit elected officials in their home office if possible. This is when they have more time and when they are in Tallahassee or Washington, D.C.

Have an agenda and communicate it when you make the appointment.

  • The agenda may be to say “Thank you” for past support.
  • Make it human – show pictures of constituents, give case studies, offer a personal testimonial.
  • Provide facts and figures that can be used in decision making.
  • Work with advocacy organizations to understand the issues and positions.
  • Prepare leave-behind information.
  • Do not give anything of value.
  • Plan on 15-20 minutes.

Consider going as a group of 3-4

  • Include someone who knows the official.
  • Include someone with a personal story.
  • Include someone with star power.

Do your homework.

  • Research speeches, position papers and other published positions.
  • Know the committee assignments and special interests.
  • Know the process that will apply to your area of interest (e.g., which committees rule on funding and policy – there may well be more than one committee involved and it may not be obvious).
  • Know what the elected official looks like. (Seriously, if you walk into a busy office with people going in and out, it will serve you well if you can recognize the person you are there to see and not mistake an aid or other constituent for the person of interest).

Include them on your newsletter and mailing list.