Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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constituents

Face-to-Face with Congress: Before, During and After Meetings with Legislators

In a CMF survey of congressional staff, 97% said "in-person visits from constituents" are the most influential way to communicate with a legislator who is undecided on an issue. But how exactly should this be done? This upcoming report features candid comments from House Chiefs of Staff, Schedulers, and Districts Directors, and advice they would never reveal to constituents, convey to lobbyists, or whisper to reporters. Read More

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A Simple Strategy to Improve Constituent Dialogue

I was giving a speech to a group of citizens visiting Washington for a fly-in, and was asked this question: "What's the most frustrating obstacle to enhancing the democratic dialog between citizens and Congress?" I surprised myself by responding quickly: "Bad writing."

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What Happens to the Advocacy Messages You Send: Hill Insiders Dish

Last week, CMF was pleased to co-host along with the Beekeeper Group the latest session in our Advocacy Leaders Network series, "Inbox or Wastebasket? Legislative Correspondents Tell You The Path Your Advocacy Materials Take And Why." This workshop focused on the behind-the-scenes process of how congressional offices handle communications and information.

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Social Media Innovations in Congress Add to Transparency and Accountability

In this month's Roll Call commentary, Brad Fitch and Kathy Goldschmidt identify some of the outstanding practices that received CMF's first-ever Gold Mouse Awards for Social Media. They also discuss why Members of Congress need to adjust their one-sided approach to social media, and instead use these tools to be more accountable and transparent to citizens.
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Do's and Don'ts for Successful Fly-Ins

Fly-in season is almost upon us again! The annual Capitol Hill ritual mostly runs from January to about June, with thousands of associations, nonprofits and corporations flying supporters in to meet with members of Congress and their staffs. Groups invest enormous resources in these events and the meetings dominate the schedules of congressional offices.

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The Benefits of Transparency and Accountability in Online Communications

The Internet continues to offer amazing opportunities for members of Congress and constituents to build relationships and communicate in a genuinely constructive way. When the Congressional Management Foundation surveyed congressional staff in 2010, 57 percent said email and the Internet have made members of Congress more “accountable” to their constituents — only 17 percent disagreed.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #6: Legislative Process Information

In the 6th part of our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, this week we cover the basic information an award-winning website should have about the legislative process. Understanding how Congress works and how bills pass can be quite daunting tasks for the average constituent, and congressional websites can serve as a go-to place to learn more about congressional procedures.

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Award-Winning Characteristic #5: Promoting Accountability to Constituents

In our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, this week's topic is about using your website to communicate the Member's work in Congress. A fundamental tenet of representative democracy is that elected officials should be accountable to their constituents, and your website provides an easy-access point for the average citizen.

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