Probably the most effective way to interact with your MOCs and their staffs is by getting a group of people together to visit them in their DC or district offices. You’re unlikely to get a meeting with a MOC in his/her DC office while Congress is in session, but you may be able to meet with the MOC (more likely your Representative than a Senator) in his/her district office when the MOC has office hours there or during a Congressional recess. And you should be able to get a meeting with the MOC’s staff, even during times when the MOC is unavailable.
Meeting with a MOC or his/her staff gives your group the opportunity to state your “ask” (e.g., to support or oppose a particular bill identified by its name and number), explain your reasons in some detail, provide written information for the MOC to review after your visit, and explain why the issue is important to the members of the group—e.g., relating it to your personal experiences or faith perspective—or how the issue affects people in the MOC’s district/state.
It also gives the MOC or his/her staff the opportunity to ask questions, particularly if members of the group have any expertise to offer on the issue. But expertise is not necessary; MOCs need to hear their constituents’ concerns and how they are affected.
The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) suggests the following steps for a visit:
- Choose a topic, preferably a single issue with some specific action pending.
- Decide who’s going, including people who can bring different experiences and concerns to bear on the issue.
- Schedule your visit with the MOC’s office.
- Prepare for the visit, including deciding who will say what and what written materials to bring. See FCNL’s lobby visit roadmap for a sample plan.
- Follow your plan in conducting a respectful meeting with the MOC or his/her staff. Clearly state your “ask” and request a commitment by the MOC. If the MOC or staff asks a question to which you don’t have an immediate answer, offer to get back to the MOC or staff with the answer.
Follow up after the meeting by sending an email thanking the MOC or his/her staff for the meeting and responding to any questions left unanswered during the visit.
Return to the main Advocacy page to explore other tools available for advocacy.