Topic outline

  • Introduction: What to Know Before You Go!


    From labor standards, to tax and immigration reform, what happens in DC doesn't stay in DC. That's why it's essential for IAAPA members to speak out and ensure legislators and staff understand how their actions impact businesses in their legislative districts. This course will show you how to be most effective in achieving those goals. You'll learn the four keys to effective advocacy, specifically what you want, who you're talking to, how to talk to them, and how to follow-up. And if that sounds like a sales call, you're right! When you come to DC you're selling an idea, which is very similar to selling a product or service. So you're already one step ahead of the game.

    To get started, visit the IAAPA action center and particularly the legislative page to become acquainted with the issues. We'll talk more about how to use the Action Center to learn more about your legislators as well.
    Stephanie Vance is a 25-year "veteran" of Washington, DC. She's worked as a Congressional Chief of Staff, Lobbyist and Grassroots Consultant. Here she shares insights on the importance of citizen advocacy.                    

    • Welcome to DC! Some Frequently Asked Questions

      This module covers the basics of what to expect during your time on Capitol Hill -- the layout of the Capitol "Campus", what security is like, where the bathrooms are, etc. Meeting with legislators and their staff is the number one way to influence policymakers. Let's get you started on the right path!          
    • All About the App!

      Using the fabulous app? Learn more about it here:

      App Functionality


       App "How To"


      • What You Want: Making the Ask

        Be sure to review the IAAPA Policy Papers (see below) before coming to Washington, DC!

        Four Keys Overview

        There are four keys to effective advocacy. Start here for the overview. Then let's look at each one!

        People in the sales world know that the number one reason you don't make a sale is because you didn't ask for it. In DC, you're selling an idea, and the number one reason elected officials don't get on board is because people don't ask.

      • Who You're Talking To: Understanding Your Audience

        Get started at the IAAPA action center to find your elected officials.

        1. Enter your zipcode. Sometimes you may to follow-up with your full address)
        2. Click on your legislators' name.
        3. Review the legislators' website

        Check the video under the resources for more information on mining legislative websites


        To be most effective, you'll want to know a little something about the people you're talking to. In this section, you'll learn about understanding your legislator, and their all important staff.


        Note that all your research into the legislator's policy and political interests apply to the staff as well. They're there to represent their boss, so what's of interest to the boss will be of interest to them as well.
      • How to Talk to Them - Developing Your Story

        Your job is to tie the strange things that happen in Washington, DC back to the district, and you do that through effective stories. Use the following materials to create yours!
        Now tie all of that into a strong message with the message formula.

      • How to Follow Up - Building Relationships

        Your trip to DC doesn't stop here! Long term relationships are essential to winning your policy issue