Sample Congressional Meeting Agenda
National Alliance to End Homelessness
Advocacy Resource | November 30, 2010
The sample agenda below can be used to help you outline the planned agenda for your congressional meeting.1. Introductions (BRIEF)
- All attendees introduce themselves and their agency and say one or two sentences about their involvement with the issue of homelessness. If there are more than 3 people in the meeting, the chair might want to do the introductions.
- Mention any relationships you have with acquaintances of your senator or representative.
2. Thank the senator/representative for something
- We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for your dedication to improving polices that will allow us to better address homelessness in (COMMUNITY).
- What is the senator’s/representative’s history of support on this issue?
- Thank him/her for something specific. For example, co-sponsorship of or work to support legislation, a federal appropriation for your agency, or visiting your program recently.
3. Purpose of the meeting
- We are here today to talk to you about the local progress being made in (CITY/STATE) to implement solutions to homelessness and how we can work together to advance our progress. Specifically, we ask that you work in support of (RELEVANT POLICY ISSUE). Information about current policies is available on the Alliance’s website. The Alliance can help you decide how your Member can have the most impact.
4. Tell local stories of personal and community-wide success
- Members are more likely to support your request when you can demonstrate how much you have accomplished with the resources that you have. This shows that you obviously can put the resources to good use.
- Share any community or program-related outcome data. Describe what you do, and concretely explain why your program works. Relate the policy issues to your community’s success.
- Tell the story of how you (or an individual/family you know) benefited from a local homeless assistance program. Share information about your community’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.
- Discuss the involvement of interesting partners in the community who have come together in your local movement to end homelessness (i.e., business owners, community organizations, local leaders/elected officials).
5. Describe how this policy issue will impact homeless people and programs in your community.
- Discuss the number and types of individuals, families, or youth who would benefit from the policy, as well as how they would benefit.
- The Alliance can help you decide what to say if you are not sure.
6. Make a SPECIFIC ask
- We ask that (SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE X) (i.e., send a letter, sign a congressional sign-on letter, co-sponsor legislation, etc.).
7. Response from Member/staff
- Think about what questions you expect the Member to ask, based on past contact with him/her.
- If the meeting is with a staff person (not the Member), the staff person will have to ask his/her boss before giving you an answer. Ask when you can follow up with him/her.
- If the Member of Congress is there, you should ask, “Who on your staff can I follow up with?”
- If you get a …
- Yes: Say: “Wonderful!”
- Maybe: Ask: “Is there any additional information I can provide to help you decide?”
- No: Say: “Is there a reason why you will not do this? Is there any information I can provide that might address some of your concerns?” (This is an excellent opportunity to keep the lines of communication open.)
- Summarize any commitments made by the Member/staff.
- Repeat any questions you need to answer in follow up that you couldn’t answer in the meeting.
- Thank them, and ask when and with whom you should follow up.
- Invite them to see a local program next time they are at home.