To help plan your site visit, consider making a work plan like the one below. You can even print this work plan out and use it to guide your planning and implementation process.
Policy Issue:(I.E., INCREASED FUNDING FOR MCKINNEY-VENTO HOMELESS ASSISTANCE GRANTS, RUNAWAY AND HOMELESS YOUTH ACT, OR SERVICES IN SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROGRAMS)
Specific Task for Member to Take:(I.E., CO-SPONSOR OR INTRODUCE A SPECIFIC PIECE OF LEGISLATION, WRITE A LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN OF A KEY COMMITTEE, ETC.)
Strengthen existing relationship (OR BUILD NEW RELATIONSHIP) with (SENATOR/REPRESENTATIVE X).
Link (FEDERAL POLICY) to the real people and programs in our community it impacts.
Share how our program has been successful in using existing resources, and explain what we could do if we had more.
Bring media attention to the success of our facility and to the urgent need for additional federal funding.
6-8 Weeks Prior to Ideal Date for Site Visit
vIdentify which Member we want to invite to visit our program, when we want him/her to come, and what policy issue we want to highlight.
vCreate work plan and timeline.
vIdentify other key stakeholders we want to invite, and ask them if they would attend.
4-5 Weeks Prior to Site Visit
vFax AND email to both the district and DC office a formal letter inviting the Member to do a site visit of our program (see sample invitation).Copy the staff person who works on the policy issue that we are highlighting.
vA few days later, follow up on our invitation with a phone call to ensure receipt, and ask whom the point of contact should be moving forward.
3-4 Weeks Prior to Site Visit
vAsk colleagues, board members, key stakeholders, and other community members to write letters of support for our invitation (see sample letter of support).
vContinue to follow up with our point of contact in the congressional office until date/time is confirmed.
vIdentify speakers (including a consumer).
2-3 Weeks Prior to Site Visit
vSet an agenda (see sample agenda).
vPrepare a briefing memo, and send it to the congressional office (see sample briefing memo).
vCompile a list of key members of the local media.
1-2 Weeks Prior to Site Visit
vPrepare handouts on our program and the policy request.
vWork with speakers to finalize their remarks and make sure they relate the policy issue to what the Member is seeing. Ask them to arrive early on the day of the site visit.
vPractice the agenda with all of the speakers.
1 Week Prior to Site Visit
vRe-confirm date and time with congressional office.
vIf Member is speaking, send suggested talking points to congressional office.
vFinalize attendee list.
vContact key local media to let them know the site visit is occurring and to ask if they would be interested in attending.
vSend out media advisory to local media, inviting them to attend (see sample media advisory).
1-2 Days Prior to Site Visit
vConfirm all logistics for the site visit.
Day of Site Visit
vSend out press release to local media.
During the Site Visit
vMake sure speakers arrive early.
vRemember to tie what the Member is seeing into our policy issue.
vExplain what specific action we want the Member to take.
vAsk when and with whom we can follow up.
Within One Week after the Site Visit
vSend a thank you letter to the Member (see sample thank you letter).
vFollow up at the appropriate time with the relevant staff member on the policy issue.
vAnswer any remaining questions.
vPut pictures from the site visit in our newsletter.