22 Jul Are You Ready for August Recess? What’s Your Plan?
During the month of August, Members of Congress leave the marble halls of their Senate and House office buildings to return to their home offices. They spend their days immersed in the local issues that their constituents are facing, holding town hall meetings and attending numerous events.
Even though Congress is not in session during the month of August, that doesn’t mean that your engagement with Members should slow down. This is a unique opportunity to strategically communicate your message back in their home states and districts in order to show them why your cause matters to their constituents.
How Do I Successfully Communicate During the August Recess?
- Tracking Town Hall Meetings: Members of Congress often hold town hall or “tele-town hall” meetings to interact with constituents and get feedback on issues that matter to them. If there are voters that care about your issue, encouraging them to attend a town hall meeting to lend their voices in a thoughtful and productive manner will likely be very impactful to Members and staff.
- Deploying an Op-ed Strategy: Members of Congress and staff first pay attention to media developments back home and read the clips every morning. This is especially true during August when the Member isn’t in Washington. If there are issue experts or respected voices within the community, coordinating with them to pen and place a series of op-eds across the media covering the Member can be very effective.
- Creating Recess Packets: Members of Congress are always looking for different ways to connect with their constituents to show they are doing their jobs. Offering recess packets to Members and staff are a great way to put your message down on paper. Packets may include everything from draft opinion pieces to infographics, to sample social media posts and newsletters. By delivering a physical and digital representation of your issue to Members heading home, you can maximize a normally quiet time for government relations and even create new allies.
- Putting on Grassroots Events: Events that are tailored to a certain Member’s state or community are really important. By getting employees of your organization in front of Senators and Representatives, it shows that you are willing to go the extra mile for your cause. Consider inviting a Member to your own company town-hall, setting up a home office visit, or something festive and on-brand for your organization like an ice-cream social or children’s event.
- Saturate Districts/States with Digital: Meet your members where they are by geo-targeting their hometowns when you know they’ll be there. By drawing upon existing messaging, strategic ad buys and promoted content can be incredibly effective- and often much cheaper- when deployed in-district. Consider linking back to your organization’s blog or earned media content to further amplify your message.
No matter how you choose to engage, keep the lines of communication open throughout the entire month and consider these ideas. They will make your efforts more memorable by leaving a lasting positive impression.