Tips for Meeting with Elected Officials

As many of you know from attending one of our Advocacy Days, a personal visit is a highly effective tool to communicate your priorities to your legislators.

Flexibility is always important when making appointments with legislators. Be as flexible as possible when scheduling your meeting. Be prepared for schedule changes! Please remember that time is as valuable a commodity to legislators as it is to us in our daily lives. So with all contacts, be brief, be specific and be polite.

Scheduling the Meeting

  • Be flexible and don’t be surprised if you meet with a member of the staff instead of the legislator. These staff members directly advise legislators on the issues. They can be a powerful voice for our cause.
  • Make your appointment in advance.

At the Meeting

  • Be on time for your appointment.
  • Be prepared and dress neatly.
  • At the beginning of the meeting, state your name, the issue you want to discuss (in this case, hydrocephalus), and what you want your legislator to do.
  • Do not be surprised if your legislator does not know about your issue or concern. Avoid overwhelming the legislator with information in too much detail.
  • If you do not know the answer to a specific question, offer to find the answer and/or provide the Hydrocephalus Association as a place to get answers.

Perhaps the most critical part of your visit:

  • Ask your Congressional Representative to contact the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to express support for a significant expansion of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) current efforts to establish a broader collaborative research effort into the incidence, causes and treatments of hydrocephalus.
  • Request that your legislator contact the Department of Defense to gain a better understanding of how many of our veterans are now living with hydrocephalus, report how many federal dollars are now being used to treat hydrocephalus, and ensure that research dollars focused on traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are available to help develop a cure for hydrocephalus.
  • If your legislator is not yet a member of the Hydrocephalus Caucus, ask him/her to join. Click here to see if your legislator is a member of the Caucus.

Before you leave the Meeting

  • Leave a one-page fact sheet summarizing your points; include your name, address and telephone number. More detailed information should be included in attachments.
  • Request contact information so you can follow up .

After the Meeting

  • Follow up the meeting with a thank you note, expressing your appreciation to the legislator/staff member for his or her time. Be sure to re-state your request in this note.
  • One month after the visit, follow up with the appropriate staff member on the status of your requests.
  • Contact us at the Hydrocephalus Association to let us know that you have undertaken this outreach and what the response to your requests has been. Please fill out the Congressional Meeting Debriefing Sheet and then email it to info@hydroassoc.org or fax the form to 301-202-3813. You can also telephone us at 301-202-3811.
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