Engage Elected Officials

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If you are unable to join Fight Colorectal Cancer at Call-on Congress in March, you can schedule your own appointments with your legislators in Washington, D.C. or at a local office or write to them throughout the year.

Congressional Meetings

A great time to schedule a local meeting is during a congressional recess:

Beginning of August to mid-September for the House

Beginning of August to the end of December for the Senate

Most senators and representatives have a place on their websites for you to request a meeting. If you plan on setting up a congressional meeting, email us for help along the way.

It’s normal to have butterflies before your Congressional meeting. Take a few deep breaths and remember why you’re there. What you’re doing is important! Congressmen receive tons of letters and emails each day, so by meeting with them face-to-face and sharing your story, you’re putting a face to colorectal cancer. Here are some tips on making an impact before, during, and after your visit with your member of Congress:

Before your meeting

  • Keep your thoughts organized – outline talking points and stick to the key issues.
  • Be punctual – arrive early if you can. This will give you time to collect your thoughts and review your notes.
  • Be prepared – do your research!
  • Before your meeting, be sure to find out where your legislators (usually) stand on similar health issues. Review our legislative priorities and contact us for talking points that you can study beforehand and take with you to your meeting. These materials will help you talk through key legislation with your elected official.

If you need help discovering your elected official’s position on your key issues, just let us know.

During your meeting

  • DON’T be political. You want your member of Congress to remember your story, not your political views.
  • Be responsive. Answer questions from your legislator with honesty and compassion. Make your answer brief, but to the point. If you don’t know the answer, don’t fret! You have resources to find out the answer after the meeting and you can include it in your follow-up.
  • Your story is powerful. Emphasize how these issues impact you impact you personally.
  • Keep it simple – too much detail can muddy your message. • Leave behind information after the meeting for the staff and legislator to refer. If you’re meeting outside of our Call-on Congress event, contact us for tools for your meeting and materials for you to leave behind.
  • To conclude the meeting, ask to take a photo with your elected official.

After your meeting

  • Fill out a Legislator Post-Visit Worksheet.
  • Send a thank you letter or email to the legislator as well as any staff you may have met with following your meeting. This not only shows the legislator that you appreciate sharing their time, but it also gives you the opportunity to remind them once again about your issue. Use our Post-Visit Thank You Email Template.
  • Post on the legislator’s Facebook wall or send them a Tweet to let them know how much you appreciated being able to meet with them. View our eAdvocate tools for suggestions and help on finding them online.
  • Send any follow-up information or materials that you mentioned during your visit.
  • Share the story of your visit with others! Post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Ask for a State Proclamation

One of the easiest things to do is securing a state proclamation declaring that March is Colorectal Awareness Month. Fight Colorectal Cancer and the Colon Cancer Alliance want to see all 50 states go BLUE, and it’s never too early for you to get started!

When states declare March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, it increases awareness and aids in cancer prevention.

Click here to get started on securing your State Proclamation.

Write Letters and Emails

If you cannot meet with your member of Congress face-to-face, you can still rely on letters and emails. They’re a reliable way to communicate your priorities – and your elected officials need to hear constituent feedback! Below are tips if you’d like to write to your elected officials.

  • Utilize the proper form of address and salutation. (See the Advocacy Handbook for proper form)
  • State Bill Number and title, what it does, and ask for support or opposition. (See our legislative priorities)
  • Explain why the Bill is needed.
  • Indicate any knowledge you have of legislator’s past positions, and personalize the message with your story and why it is important to you.
  • Conclude by asking again for support of your position.

Did you meet or hear back? Make sure to get media attention! And – let us know!

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