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New Challenges and New Tools for Congress

"The Internet changed everything." This phrase is prevalent in our society, whether it refers to commerce, personal relationships, or even our democratic processes. The system and paradigm built over the years for citizens to interact with Members of Congress is not immune to this change.

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Capitol Hill Experiencing Huge Increase in Constituent Mail

Report Documents How Congressional Offices Are Adapting to Manage Demand

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressional offices are receiving between 200 to 1,000 percent more constituent communications than they were ten years ago. Despite the increase, a survey of congressional staff indicates that 90 percent believe constituent communications remains a "high priority" for the office. But sizable percentages of staff report that their offices are shifting resources to manage the increased demand.

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CMF Report to Document Changes in Constituent Volume and Communications Practices on Capitol Hill

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) will release a new report on October 4 documenting how the volume of constituent communications has changed in the past decade, as well as congressional staff perceptions on how internal practices have changed in that time. CMF's How Citizen Advocacy Is Changing Mail Operations on Capitol Hill is based on a survey of 260 congressional staff on how email and the Internet are affecting office procedures. CMF researchers also collected mail volume data from ten congressional offices.

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Recess Isn't Vacation

Part of the expanded mission of CMF through the Partnership for a More Perfect Union is to build a better understanding of how Congress works in the public mind. That job gets a little harder when solid mainstream news organizations perpetuate misperceptions about how Congress works. The Washington Post recently published a column on congressional recesses, which engendered this Letter to the Editor from CMF's President and CEO, Bradford Fitch.

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Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

A Tribute to Congressional Staff

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Congressional Management Foundation and our supporters recognize and honor the sacrifice and contribution of all silent patriots under the dome — the staff of the United States Congress.

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Social Media Requires New Metrics for Measuring Success

I'll admit it, I was a bit slow to "get" social media. Intellectually, I understood the viral and interconnected nature of the media. But I was schooled in mainstream media. When I started in radio we still spun records and spliced tape with a razor blade. I read the articles and heard the mantra: it's not simply the number of your followers that count on Twitter, but who is following you, and how much influence they have. This lesson hit home for me during a recent trip to San Francisco.

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First-of-a-Kind Research to Examine Congress as a Workplace

Congressional Management Foundation and Society for Human Resource Management to Survey Members of Congress and Staff

A new research project will be launched next week to better understand the working environment on Capitol Hill and provide members of Congress and congressional office managers a better understanding of how to balance their professional and personal lives.

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Social Media Used Extensively by Congress

New Report Shows Capitol Hill Uses Social Media to Gauge Opinion and Communicate with Constituents

Most Members of Congress have thoroughly integrated social media into their communications operations, and are using new media tools to gauge public opinion, communicate with constituents, and reach new people, according to a survey of congressional staff. While pockets of resistance remain -- especially among older staffers and offices which identify themselves as "late adopters" of technology -- a majority of staff report that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube now rival traditional communications tools used by Congress.

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New Site Offers Tools, Resources to Citizens & Congress

Normally the launching of a new website wouldn't warrant a lot of heralding – websites get launched every day. The Congressional Management Foundation's new website, CongressFoundation.org, is a bit different. More than a new online resource, CongressFoundation.org represents the expanding mission of CMF into some exciting new areas.

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Coming July 26: #SocialCongress

On Tuesday, July 26, CMF will release "#SocialCongress: Perceptions and Use of Social Media on Capitol Hill," a new survey of congressional staff gauging Capitol Hill opinion of the influence of social media on lawmakers’ decisions and the impact of social media on communication between constituents and Congress. On that date, CMF's President and CEO, Bradford Fitch, will be interviewed on C-SPAN'S Washington Journal at 9:15 am, and on Facebook DC Live, a live streaming video program, at 12:00 pm (http://on.fb.me/FBDCLive).

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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.