ABA Day 2020 Digital was the perfect opportunity to connect with your elected officials, but now you may be wondering what comes next. Your advocacy efforts during ABA Day were important and effective, and now we want to help you amplify your impact and strengthen your congressional relationships by following up with additional small but significant actions that you can take when you have time. We have put together some really easy ways below for you to continue to build relationships with your Members of Congress and plug in to future advocacy efforts.
Plugging into the Larger Picture
Debriefing after a major campaign is one of the best ways to share what you have learned with other advocates and coordinate with the ABA policy team. We therefore hope you will fill out the ABA Day survey and let us know how your advocacy efforts went. Your feedback will help shape how our ABA Governmental Affairs team interacts with your congressional offices next time we reach out, and your experience this year will help shape ABA Day next year. If you were not able to join us last week for ABA Day, you can still participate by sending messages to your elected officials from here and continuing with the rest of the steps in this article.
If you spoke with your Members of Congress or their staff over the phone or through an online teleconference service, the most important step you can now take is to simply follow up with an email thanking them for their time and producing any information you may have promised. This acts as a great second touch point and signals to the office that you look forward to keeping the lines of communication open. It also affords the opportunity to offer your perspective on an ongoing basis, if you feel comfortable doing so.
Keeping the Relationship Alive
Checking in periodically and offering assistance to staffers with whom you have interacted is a great way to nurture the relationship and assure that it is a two-way street. Continuing the relationship throughout the year will not only give you the opportunity to represent the legal profession or provide updates on issues your Member cares about on a regular basis, it will also make your future advocacy requests that much more meaningful.
You also do not need to wait for next ABA Day to advocate on issues. We hope you will continue to send advocacy messages through the ABA Grassroots portal. These tools make connecting with your elected officials over email, phone, or social media easy to do at your convenience. To make this even easier, be sure to join the ABA Grassroots Action Team and you will be contacted when new campaigns arise.
While the coronavirus pandemic may continue to alter Congress’s schedule, another step you may be able to take is to reconnect with your Members during the August recess, when they normally return to their home offices to meet with their constituents. Although Members may not hold in-person town hall meetings this August, they will be holding virtual events or exploring other ways to engage with their constituents to find out what is on their minds. These events provide opportunities for you to reach out and ask if there has been any progress on the issues you brought up with them during ABA Day. To assist you, we will have a packet of materials and suggested messaging for you closer to August.
Finally, the best way for you to stay involved and up to date on legislative developments regarding ABA Day issues and emerging issues of importance to the legal profession is to follow the Governmental Affairs team on Twitter @ABAGrassroots where we will continue to post updates, breaking news, and chances for you to get involved.