Lobby Meeting Outline (After Initial Meeting)
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The following is a sample agenda or outline for a follow-up meeting with a member of Congress or their staff. If you’re meeting with the member of Congress or a staffer for the first time, then you may want to use the meeting outline for an initial meeting and review the roles meeting attendees can take.
Some of these steps might not make sense for your meeting, so feel free to tweak it as necessary. However, we strongly encourage you to include an appreciation, CCL’s primary ask, and a supporting ask.
- Thank the member of Congress or staffer for meeting with us.
- Time Monitor: “How much time do you have for this meeting?”
- Introduce yourselves (keep the time in mind). Name, hometown, and what inspires your action on climate. If appropriate, connect by sharing your personal story.
- If your lobby team includes members who are meeting this member of Congress or staffer for the first time, ask the staffer to introduce themselves.
- Show appreciation for a position the member of Congress has taken or a recent accomplishment.
- State our purpose: “Our purpose is to create the political will for a livable world.”
- If you have materials to deliver (letters, postcards or endorsements), have“the deliverer” hand them to the member of Congress or staffer.
- Our ask:“Our ask is that [MOC NAME] support Energy Innovation Act legislation that puts a fee on fossil fuels and allocates the revenue to American households. We have more to say on that later, but first we’d like to take a minute to summarize our last meeting and make sure we understand [MOC NAME]’s position.”
- Transition into the plan or agenda for the follow-up meeting.
- EXAMPLE TRANSITION 1: “At our last meeting you said you were concerned about how rising energy costs would impact those that could least afford it. We agree that this is something which should be carefully considered, so we commissioned a study to tell us how the Energy Innovation Act will impact various socio-economic groups in your district. Would you like to review that information now?”
- EXAMPLE TRANSITION 2: “At our last meeting you mentioned that the U.S. shouldn’t do this without China and India agreeing to act. We agree that the U.S. should not go it alone. So we did some research on carbon pricing around the world. Would you like us to share what we found?”
10. Possible questions you could ask to further the discussion:
- “What might be preventing you from supporting Energy Innovation Act legislation?”
- “Who in our district would we need to convince about the merits of this proposal to win your support?”
- “We have some recent polling data and estimates indicating Americans favor action to limit CO2 emissions. Would you like to see what that looks like for our district/state?”
- “Would you like to see the projections for emissions reductions, job, and GDP growth or the number of premature deaths prevented with the Energy Innovation Act?”
- Based on your group’s research of local climate impacts, what can you ask about drought, flood, renewable jobs, business or faith-based leaders in the community?
- “Do you think our current policies regarding clean air and clean water reflect good stewardship of the planet?”
Note: From your research, anticipate what you think the member of Congress responses might be so you are prepared to ask questions to draw out more information. Listen for the underlying value statements in their responses, acknowledge that value, and connect on common ground. Try to ask for permission to proceed before giving them information.
11. Time Monitor signals the team when five minutes remain in the meeting.
12. Our ask: (hand them a copy of our primary ask) “Our ask is that [MOC NAME] make the climate a bridge issue by supporting the Energy Innovation Act legislation, putting a fee on fossil fuels and allocating the revenue to American households. Is that something he/she is willing to do now?”
13. If it becomes clear they cannot commit to your ask, make sure you clearly understand what holds them back and then offer a supporting ask (smaller ask that builds towards our main ask).
14. “What could we be doing more of in the district to make it easier for you to support the Energy Innovation Act?”
- “We have additional materials, would you like a hard copy or electronic version? How and when should I follow up?”