Thank you for being an Eye CAN advocate and meeting with your Member of Congress! Below are step-by-step instructions to help you schedule a meeting.
1. Find your Representative’s and Senators’ contact information online
Look up your Representative’s Washington DC office online at www.house.gov. (If you do not know who represents you, use the “Find Your Representative” portal at the top right-hand portion of the page.) For the Senate offices, please visit www.senate.gov (you can search by state).
When you call, ask to speak to the scheduler. Make sure to get the scheduler’s first and last name and the spelling.
2. Send a letter requesting a meeting to the scheduler
The letter should be in your personal email or on your own letterhead, not your employer or business letterhead. The letter needs your full name, address, contact phone number and e-mail.
The letter should go out by fax or email to the scheduler. If you send via fax, be sure to include a cover sheet directed to the attention of the scheduler. The cover sheet also should include your full name, contact phone number, and email address. If you send via email, please ask for (and confirm the spelling of) the scheduler’s email address. Once you have that, you can paste the text of your request letter into the body of the email and send.
The request letters cannot be sent by regular mail, FedEx, etc. because of the security system for mail delivery. Therefore, fax or email is the only guaranteed way to deliver your meeting request letter in a timely fashion.
3. Call thescheduler to follow up on the request letter after it has been emailed/faxed
When calling, you should ask for the scheduler and indicate that you are calling to confirm if a meeting request letter has been received. If the office did not receive the letter, confirm the correct fax number or email address and resend the meeting request.
It is very likely that the scheduler will ask if you would be willing to meet with a Congressional staff member instead of the Member of Congress.
In some cases the scheduler will arrange the appointment with the staffer for you. However, most of the time the scheduler will give you the name of the staffer you are to contact yourself. If possible, ask the scheduler for the staffer’s direct line or email address. If you need to schedule a meeting with the Health Legislative Assistant, all future contact and confirmation should be with this staff member, not the scheduler, so make sure to get the appropriate contact information for the staff member.
4. Confirm the appointment
If you are scheduled to meet with your Representative or Senator, be sure to thank the scheduler and carefully record the details of the meeting. Repeat the details back to the scheduler to ensure you have them all correct.
If you are scheduled to meet with the Legislative Assistant or other staffer, be sure to carefully record the details – including the time, room number, and building name.
You should call the scheduler and/or Health Legislative Assistant about 1-2 weeks before you your meeting to confirm the date, time, and location.
Be persistent, polite and flexible throughout this process. The Congressional schedule is very busy, and Members of Congress and their staff often are hesitant to commit to a meeting too far in advance. The key to getting a Member-level or staff meeting is a lot of follow-up, so you need to place your requests early to allow time to finalize the details.
Email Prevent Blindness America’s advocacy department at EyeCAN@preventblindness.org with any additional questions.
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