Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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Characteristics of Effective Committee Websites

In past posts, we've discussed the characteristics of effective Member (personal office) websites. While some overlap exists between award-winning Member and committee websites in terms of usability and timeliness, there is little commonality otherwise.

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Congress Should Explore Greater Flexibility in the Workplace

Is workplace flexibility possible in congressional offices? Can something that's "easy to say, hard to do" be implemented in such a unique work environment? In this month's Roll Call commentary, Brad Fitch discusses why workflex is important for Congress to consider—and the consequences of not doing so.

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CMF-SHRM Launch Training Series on Work-Life

Last week, CMF and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) launched a training series on congressional work-life as part of the "Life in Congress" research project. These programs are focused on enhancing staff's professional and personal lives by exploring options for more flexible workplaces.

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The Magic Formula to Requesting Time and Setting Up Events With Congress

For citizens aiming to get Congress to understand their views, congressional staff report the best way is to invite their boss to attend an event or visit a group in the district or state. August recess is an excellent time to do this, but many staff also report significant variance in the acumen, skills and practices of groups requesting meetings. In this commentary, Brad Fitch offers some clear guidance based on a recent CMF survey of House District Directors.

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Be a ‘Courageous Follower’: How to Have Difficult Conversations with the Boss

On Monday, CMF held training sessions with senior level Senate and House staff about how to become a 'Courageous Follower.' The focus was on how staff provide valuable guidance and feedback to their Senator or Member, including the courage to intervene when not doing so will cause a problem or result in a serious misstep.
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Great Websites Win More Than Awards, They Win Trust

In this month's Roll Call commentary, Brad Fitch discusses the top 5 characteristics of effective Member websites, and how these characteristics contribute to enhanced transparency and accountability in Congress, and greater trust in our democratic institutions.

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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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Learn the Path of Your Advocacy Materials

This Friday, join CMF at the Advocacy Leaders Network workshop to learn how constituent and advocacy communications are handled in a congressional office. Hear directly from congressional staff on which messages grab their attention and why.

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Lessons from the 113th Congress Gold Mouse Awards

Today CMF hosted a briefing for congressional staff on how to improve online communications with constituents, based on what we saw in our recent reviews of congressional websites and social media. The program also paid special attention on learning from the policies and practices of Gold Mouse Award-winning staffers.
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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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ABOUT CMF

Inside of Capitol Dome

CMF is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to helping Congress and its Members meet the evolving needs and expectations of an engaged and informed 21st century citizenry.

Our work focuses on improving congressional operations and enhancing citizen engagement through research, publications, training, and management services.

Read more about CMF

PROJECTS

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Communicating with Congress The Internet forever changed how citizens and Congress interacts. The goal of this project is to facilitate a more meaningful democratic dialogue.

 

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Gold Mouse Project
Congress should effectively communicate with and serve citizens online. CMF assesses congressional websites to identify best and innovative practices that can be more widely adopted by the House and Senate.

 

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Inside the Hill
Produced by Founding Partner Fleishman-Hillard, this video series allows you to hear directly from Members and staff on how technology is changing the way Congress works.

 

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Life in Congress
This novel research project by CMF and the Society for Human Resource Management has two goals: identify the factors that motivate congressional staff and shed some light on Congress as a workplace.

 

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21st Century Town Hall Meetings CMF seeks to continue our innovative work in this area by conducting comparative research on in-person town halls, online town halls, and telephone town halls.