Win the August Recess: 6 Strategies for Offline Action
August Recess is around the corner, and Members of Congress will be leaving Washington. As they return to their districts, the recess presents an important opportunity to pressure MOCs on your organization’s legislative agenda. Already we’ve seen the power that committed activists can have on legislative priorities, and we all know that there’s no substitute for in-person action. Regardless of the issue your organization is working on, using the upcoming recess to encourage your members to take in-person action at district offices and town halls should be a key tenet of your recess plan.
While you’re planning your organization’s recess actions, consider using VisitThem to easily connect your members with their MOCs — through event and district office data. Here are some ideas for in-person actions:
- Story of Self, Us, Now: Sharing personal stories is one of the most powerful tools available to organizers. Ensuring that MOCs, and their staff, hear about the personal impacts of legislation— whether that be healthcare changes, LGBTQ issues, immigration, or anything else — is perhaps the most effective means of cutting through the bubble of prepared talking points. Hold a public narrative training via a conference call or the web to equip your members with the skills to tell their stories effectively. Then, have members visit their local district offices to share their stories.
- Town Halls: Encourage your members to attend congressional town halls to ask questions and share opinions about the issues your organization is working on. Amplify your members’ messages by helping them reach out to the press before, during, and after their town hall visit. Remind them to record the town hall and share it on social media.
- Constituents’ Statements: Encourage members to meet in local groups to draft a “constituents’ statement,” which lays out their specific demands on an issue. Help prepare the members to respond to questions from the MOC or staff. Then, hold an event near select congressional offices and have members march to deliver the statement in-person.
- Distributed petition delivery: If your organization has already organized a petition on the issue you’re promoting, you can segment the signers by electoral district and ask your members to deliver signatures in-person to their local district offices. Organize a training for your members and invite local press to cover the delivery. Remind the MOC that the signatures your members are delivering are from their constituents (and potential voters).
- Any Action: Use VisitThem’s API to mail merge an email to each member of your list with the closest opportunity for them to take in-person action — whether at a town hall or a district office.
Also, if there’s one thing we’ve learned this summer, it’s that ACA repeal comes back to life even when it seems dead. In case healthcare becomes a fight again, here’s a bonus healthcare-specific idea:
- Sick Ins: If MOCs are going to take away people’s health care, maybe sick people should go to their district offices when they’re not feeling well? If your members have a cold, a rash, a sore throat, or some other non-urgent medical situation, have them stop by their closest district office and ask the staff members how they plan to help. Even if they’re healthy, members can still visit the offices.