Advocacy Training from the Congressional Management Foundation


The US Chamber of Commerce‘s Main Street Leaders program is excited to be partnering with the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) to deliver advocacy training to our small business members. 

More than ever, the voices of small business are imperative in changing the narrative about pro-business and pro-growth policies to lawmakers. The most influential messengers to Congress are the people and businesses in their communities. The success of lawmakers hinges on the advice and counsel of their constituents. 

With the assistance of CMF, we are working to help small businesses tell their story and build relationships with their members of Congress. The CMF staff have done the research into the best ways to connect you with lawmakers and staff. The expertise, research, and comprehensive training programs CMF provides are the best fit for helping our cadre of small business advocates succeed.


CMF will conduct the following training programs for Main Street Leaders:

What Congress is Looking for in Constituent Communications

Many Americans believe that Congress doesn’t listen to them or care what they think. However, CMF research demonstrates that Members of Congress care deeply about what their constituents thinks – but they DO pay more attention to some constituents than others. What kind of mail do legislators actually read; who is talking to them; and what are the best elements to include in an email, letter, or fax to a legislator that is most likely to get their attention?

What to Expect When Meeting with a Member of Congress and Staff

Every year, thousands of Americans work with their associations, nonprofits, or companies to attend “fly-in” events or “lobby days” in Washington. But many participants don’t know what to expect when they meet with their legislator, or their perceptions are shaped by the media. This presentation provides an overview of congressional offices; outlines staff roles in meetings; and offers 10 tips for successfully meeting with Members of Congress and their staffs.

Congress 101: An Insider View of Capitol Hill

Through anonymous surveys of Members of Congress and staff, examinations of Members’ schedules, and interviews with insiders on Capitol Hill, CMF has identified how legislators actually spend their time, and how Members of Congress organize their offices and staffs. This program will include: a breakdown of activities of Members of Congress (legislative, constituent services, and campaign); legislators’ attitudes about the work activities they believe are most important; and an organizational chart and description of congressional offices and staff positions.

Stay-cation Advocacy: How to Build Relationships Back Home

Members of Congress often are harried and overbooked when in Washington. Interacting with lawmakers back home can be the best strategy to get “quality time” with key decision makers. In this session, participants will learn about: who lawmakers listen to and why; the most effective tactics and strategies to use in the district or state; how to build long-term relationships with lawmakers and their staff; and the best opportunities for setting up meetings and events back home.

WAY Outside the Beltway: House District Directors on the Do’s and Don’ts of In-State Meetings

Building relationships with lawmakers back home is a proven-effective congressional interaction strategy. A CMF survey of congressional staff examined the best methods utilized by Members of Congress for understanding constituents’ views. “Attending events in the district/state” was the top answer, with 98% of congressional staff noting its importance. In-state grassroots strategies got a significant boost in 2011 when the House of Representatives significantly altered its calendar, more than doubling the number of congressional recesses each year. But what are the best strategies for getting an in-district meeting with legislators? What are the best ways to invite Members of Congress to events? And how many people do they expect to attend in-district meetings and events? This program will draw upon the results a survey of House District Directors and will discuss the differences and nuances of district-based interactions with Members of Congress.