Determine Shared Fields of Interest
First and foremost, it is helpful to understand if there is any overlap in your work and your Member of Congress’ areas of interest. Regardless of the topic of your meeting, this information is useful in helping to build a rapport with his or her office and ignite the genuine interest of whomever you meet with in your topic of discussion.
To understand where shared fields of interest may exist, we recommend:
- Checking which committees they serve on—One of those committees may have jurisdiction over issues you work on. Most Members of Congress list the committees on which they serve on their official Congressional website (i.e. www.[member last name].[senate/house].gov). If you have trouble identifying this information, as always, feel free to reach out to a member of our Policy Team  for assistance.
- Looking through press releases from their offices—This will begin to give you an idea of the issues that they care most about. It also makes for a good point of conversation (*please note the lobbying rules for your foundation type ) if your Members of Congress made a statement regarding a piece of legislation that affects your work. This information is also available on Members of Congress’ Congressional website.
- Review their voting and co-sponsorship record on legislation that you care about—This is helpful information for framing your conversation. Perhaps your Members of Congress did not issue a press release on a particular piece of legislation, but have voted in favor or against issues that impact you. This information is typically available on Congress.gov , but please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Policy Team  for assistance in gathering this information.
Once you’ve identified if areas of share interest exist, make sure to come prepared with materials and information on those topics.
Meeting with your Member vs. a Staffer
Though we certainly encourage you to engage directly with your Members of Congress, depending on the purpose and goal of your meeting, it may be more effective to meet with a staffer from their office.
There are a number of different people in their office with whom it might be particularly useful to meet with. For instance, if you are planning to be in Washington DC and would like to discuss a particular piece of legislation, it would be helpful to meet with the Chief of Staff or Legislative Director for your Member’s office.
If you are looking to schedule a meeting in your home district or state, your point of contact would be the District or State Director for your Members of Congress.
These staffers tend to have more precise knowledge on issue areas. They are often responsible for drafting and analyzing proposed legislation, and Members of Congress rely on them to relay input and information from constituents as a part of that process.
Learn more about the specific roles of Congressional staff members.
Scheduling a meeting
Once you’ve made the above considerations, it is time to actually schedule your meeting. There are a couple of ways you can go about this:
If you are requesting a meeting with your Member of Congress directly, it is best to contact his or her Scheduler/Administrative Assistant. Most Members have separate Schedulers for their DC offices and their District or State offices. Contact information for these individuals is often available on the Congressional website for your Member (or via a contact form), but the Policy Team is happy to assist you finding the direct email or phone information for Schedulers.
If you are requesting a meeting with a Congressional staffer, it is best to reach out to that individual directly—either by email, or by calling the main line of your Member’s office and asking to schedule a meeting. Again, the Policy Team  is happy to help you with this locating this contact information if necessary.
This content is for Council members only.