Meeting With Elected Officials or Their Staff in Person
Schedule your meeting.
Recruit more activists to join you - post your event to map.peoplepower.org, recruit from your own network, and confirm as many participants as possible beforehand.
Prepare for what to expect. The key to a good meeting is being focused and persistent – the purpose of the meeting isn’t to debate policy or listen to long-winded speeches by the official you’re meeting with. You want to get simple, straightforward answers to your direct ask. You deserve a straight answers from your elected officials -- they work for you! -- so prepare to ask as many times as you have to to get one.
Assign group roles and practice. If you have time, hold an organizing meeting before your scheduled meeting to assign meeting roles. -- such as a note taker, a time keeper to keep you on task, and (super important!) a main spokesperson who will make the direct ask. Role play a practice meeting by running through your agenda with your group. This will keep the meeting smooth and help you prepare for any unexpected challenges.
Arrive 20 minutes early the day of to ensure you can show up together and on time.
If you’re meeting with a federal or statewide official give your local ACLU a heads up. They will be able to provide you with more context and materials that they may want you to share with the official or coordinate the visit with a meeting they already have planned.
Begin by introducing the group. If it's a small meeting, begin by having everyone introduce themselves. If it's a larger meeting give the elected official or staffer a list of everyone present and have the spokesperson introduce the group. When offering a brief personal introduction give name, neighborhood and profession -- but keep it short and relevant. Be clear that you are representing yourself as a concerned member of the community -- make sure you do not leave the impression that you are representing the ACLU. Only ACLU staff can represent the ACLU with elected officials and their staff.
Spokesperson for the group then presents the topic and shares their own personal story with the issue, if they have one.
Spokesperson makes the hard ask to ask where the official stands on the specific issue. Be polite and cordial, but persistent. Your local official may try to avoid answering, so ask as many times as you have to get a clear yes or no.
Send a follow up note to your elected official and their staff, thanking them for their time and following up on the next steps you discussed with them, urging them again for their support of your campaign.
Share the results of your meeting on social media to thank them for their time, and if they supported your campaign, for their support.
Follow up with the elected official based on the time frame they gave you. If they did not give you a time frame, follow up and ask for one. Then follow up again.
Plan your next tactic and event. Continue your good work and plan your next action. Be sure to post it to the People Power map!
Report back to People Power by filling out this form.
Please note: As a People Power activist, you don’t represent the ACLU as an organization. You represent your own causes as a concerned constituent and community stakeholder. This is critical to our strength as a movement: As you work on your Freedom Cities campaign, Let People Vote campaign, and other causes, your voices will be stronger as representatives of your community. If anyone is looking for a comment about a formal ACLU position, you can refer them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can contact the appropriate ACLU representative.