Congrats on being selected to handle Congressional scheduling. You will be lining up the meetings that change the world!
Assignment: Schedule meetings with members of Congress and/or their staff.
- Scheduling Helper 2015-16: Use to help keep track of who you’ve contacted and followed-up with.
- Meeting Schedule: This is the official list of confirmed meetings.
- Sample Meeting Schedule: This what your meeting schedule will look like as meetings are arranged.
- Email the meeting request to scheduling.
- Call the leaders scheduler 2-3 days later to verify that they received it.
- For offices, that you haven’t heard from within a week, begin follow-up emails.
- If you’re not having any luck with the schedulers, next try getting meetings with the Chief of Staff or Foreign Policy LA.
Getting Started Scheduling
- Find out from your manager who to schedule meetings with.
- Track offices that you are scheduling meetings with. List the Congressional leaders in that document.
- Find the contact information for the Schedulers and Foreign Policy LA’s and add them to the document.
- Email the scheduler a meeting request.
- Determine the blocks of time when you ideally want the meetings to occur. For example, Senate meetings are always on separate days from House meetings. Some juggling can occur for high-priority meetings. Start out sending meeting request for times that correspond with the building. For example, try to book all Rayburn meetings Tuesday 10-3… Realistically, you won’t be able to keep all together but by having a general guideline you can drastically reduce the amount running around that Clint does.
- Email meeting request to the scheduler. If you don’t hear back, follow-up in 1-2 days to confirm they received it.
How to Find Out Who is the Chief of Staff, Foreign Policy LA, Scheduler, etc. You can call the office and ask (make sure you get the exact spelling) or…
- Find staff here: http://capwiz.com/results/directory/congdir.tt
- Select the leaders name.
- Select the staff tab.
- From here you can see the Scheduler, Chief of Staff and Foreign Policy LA.
How to Determine a Staffers Email Address? Many offices won’t give out staffers email addresses over the phone, but this simple formula usually works.
House of Representatives: [email protected] (staffer first name).(staffer last name)@mail.house.gov
Senate: [email protected] (staffer first name)_(staffer last name)@(senator last name).senate.gov
* If that doesn’t work try the Senators full name (@johnkerry.senate.gov).
Who to Schedule Meetings With? Check with your manager, but if you’re scheduling for Clint it will most likely be.
- House Foreign Affairs Members
- Senate Foreign Affairs Members
- House Appropriations Members
- Senate Appropriations Members
- Tea Party Members of Congress
- New Members of Congress
You can reformat one of the following documents to list the meetings.
MEETING REQUEST CHAIN OF COMMAND
Our issue (global poverty) is usually handled by the Foreign Policy LA. They serve as the Political Leaders adviser for everything involving U.S. foreign policy. However, we always try to first get a meeting with the Congressional Leaders. Below is the order of people you will try to get meetings with per office.
- First try for the congressional leader. They’re very difficult to get meetings with (especially when they’re in DC), but we always go big and if nothing else the meeting request is viewed by the senator and/or their scheduler.
- Second email the Chief of Staff to try to get a meeting. Similarly, they usually delegate the meetings to LA’s (Legislative Associates).
- Third email Foreign Policy LA’s (the person who handles all Foreign Policy issues for the senator). These are the people in charge of our issues and who we normally meet with.
- Carry your phone and scheduling document with you at all times. You’ll be getting lots of calls, often early in the morning.
- Double check the office locations. Clint typically has 5 minutes to get from one meeting to the next and offices span three buildings. Arriving to find a wrong or nonexistent office costs us the meeting.
- To the full extent possible, schedule meetings in locations close to one another. The first priority is to get the meeting so take whatever time slot is available. But if the option exists try for Hart Building 2-4, Dirkensen 4-6, etc.
- If you’re running out of times available for meeting during the trip. Schedule phone meetings for the following week.
Emailing the Meeting Request
Customize each meeting request and attach it to the email that you send schedulers.
(Email Signature Here)
Common Questions from Schedulers
- What’s the meeting about? If we haven’t mentioned the purpose of the meeting in our scheduling request, you’ll get this question sometimes. Check with your manager, but most likely you’ll respond the International Affairs Budget or mention a specific bill we are working on. Be careful not to say its about a bill that they’ve already cosponsored. For example, you wouldn’t want to say the meeting is about the Electrify Africa Act, if they’ve already cosponsored it. Below each bill on this page is a link to determine who has cosponsored key bills.
- Who’s going to be there? Fairly straight forward but they also might be trying to find out how many people and their backgrounds.
- Do we have any members/volunteers in their district? Check the map of where our volunteers are. Some offices won’t meet unless we have people in their district.
(VERY IMPORTANT!!!) 2-3 days before Clint meets with the staffer, email the staffer a meeting reminder/confirmation (see above). Congressional staffers are drastically more engaged when they’re familiar with The Borgen Project and/or spent time on the site, compared to those who were told by the leader to meet with us, but haven’t taken time to learn about the organization beforehand.
The Logistics Dance
The Borgen Project is in a unique position of having more access to Congress than most organizations and major companies… However, we’re financially small so we try to pack as many meetings in as possible to limit the number of trips and travel costs. Meetings are scheduled 30-minutes apart and oftentimes Clint will only have 5 minutes to get from one office to the next. To the full extent possible, the more you can schedule meetings close to one another the better. Here’s your inside scoop.
- Senators have offices in three buildings (Russel, Dirksen and Hart)
- Representatives also have offices in three buildings (Rayburn, Cannon and Longworth)
- Leadership from the House and Senate are located in the Capitol Building. For meetings in the Capitol, Clint has to go through a 2nd security checkpoint, take a small underground train, then take two separate elevators. In short, allow 30 minutes in the schedule for him to go and return to meetings in the Capitol Building.
- Rayburn is huge. Try to keep meetings with Rayburn members in the same block of time.
You will encounter situations where you’ll need to move meetings around. For example, you have a meeting with a Foreign Policy LA scheduled for 3:30, but a Senator is only available to meet at that time. When in doubt on which meetings to prioritize and move, check with your manager. Here is a general ranking of who comes first in our scheduling priorities.
- Members of Congress
- Staff from top leadership roles (Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader)
- Staff from key committees
- Staff from other target groups (Tea Party, New members of Congress)
- All others
Whenever needing to bump a meeting. Always politely ask if they’re available on another date (suggest a couple of times).
DURING MEETING WEEK
We usually have 1-2 meetings changed or cancelled on meeting days. Awake early (sorry) to check email/messages and make sure no early morning meetings were cancelled. And email the latest version of his schedule with the update.
Sample of Meeting Schedule