Topic outline

  • Introduction: What to Know Before You Go!



    Make Your Voice Heard in D.C.

    A new administration signals new ideas in Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill. This is the ideal time for our elected officials to understand the top policy issues affecting our profession and the U.S. economy.

    Your Issues Here

    Members of Congress want to hear from experts like you. .

    When we visit Capitol Hill together, we will make a difference--and this course will show you how!

    About Your Instructor

    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.

      Your Organization's Action Center or Policy Page (or both!)

      The Best Place to Start!

      Click here for more information on the policy issues

      • 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!          
      • What You Want: Making the Ask

        This is where advocates will learn about YOUR Policy Issues. You'll be able to provide resources for them to download as well. See samples below under "resources"

        Direct access to your organization's Policy Pages
        Your  policy team will have up-to-the-minute policy details for the event. Prepare by taking a look at the policy papers on the policy page, or reviewing them in the resources below.

        Then move on for more information on translating that policy knowledge into compelling messages.

        Four Keys Overview

        There are four keys to effective advocacy. Start here for the overview. Then we'll 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


        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.

        The main difference in talking to them is pronouns. Instead of saying: will you cosponsor this bill?" (for example), you'd say "will the Congressman or woman cosponsor this bill?"
      • 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