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How telephone town halls have remained a staple of elected officials despite ever-changing technology.
April 19, 2019
Grace CooperSince the time of the pilgrims, town halls have been a vital channel of communication between elected officials and their constituents. Despite ever-changing technology, the basic concept of town halls has permeated every chapter of American history. So let's take a look at the evolution of this crucial communication strategy, beginning with one of the most famous examples: FDR's "fireside chats."
The first three months have been a whirlwind–here's a checklist to make sure you're on the right track.
March 28, 2019
It's been almost three months since the new Congress was sworn in, and most offices have been on the go since day one, especially Freshman offices. After an election with so much turnover, it can be easy to overlook the little things. However, it's important to take a moment to check in with your staff and your district office for a quick health check. Here are six reminders for Freshman offices as we make it to the 90-day mark of the 116th Congress.
1. Set up your office
The first three months have likely been busy setting up your offices both on Capitol Hill and your district. Now is the time to make sure that you've filled all vital staff positions and that your district office has what it needs to run on a daily basis.
2. Acquire all necessary hardware and software
Next on the agenda is purchasing and setting up all IT systems and software. Leidos offers IT hardware purchases as well as a House IT Services (HITS) monthly maintenance plan–combine both and receive on-site hardware installation. Once all of the necessary hardware is acquired, your office can focus on software needs and, perhaps most importantly, your CRM provider. It's important to thoroughly evaluate your CRM needs to choose the product that has everything you know you need and maybe a few features that you didn't even realize you needed. Once your CRM is up and running, be sure to establish contact and begin building a relationship with your office's IT Consultant (ITC). Introduce your ITC to the office so that everyone on staff knows who to escalate issues with.
3. Train all office staff on IQ
At this point all staffers should be trained on IQ, including and especially Legislative Correspondents, Staff Assistants, and Communications Directors. Staffers should know how to create form letters, reply to messages, create documents, assign responses to advocacy campaign messages, and be able to remotely access IQ. Legislative Correspondents especially should be well-versed on IQ mail management.
4. Establish daily internal processes
After physical office spaces are set up, major roles are filled, and everyone is trained, your office needs to focus on establishing internal process that will allow your day-to-day happenings to run smoothly. At the 90-day point in your term you should have established protocol for processing Member meeting/speaking requests, handling voicemails, responding to letters/emails, logging phone calls, approving form letter language, and booking D.C. tours for constituents. Your office should also compose autoreply language for responding to inbound messages and service requests.
5. Integrate communication channels
First and foremost on every office’s agenda is setting up all modes of communication and integrating them into their CRM. Make sure the webforms on your Member’s website are properly linked to your CRM. Once you have all of your social channels up and running, be sure to connect those accounts to the IQ Social Media Center, so you can easily receive and respond to messages, monitor your feed, and view analytics all within IQ. Finally, before beginning any type of outreach, your office will need updated voter data imported directly into your CRM. Build up your database with the best 2018 election voter files and email lists, then easily import this data into IQ.
6. Create a constituent outreach strategy
Once all of your channels are smoothly integrated and you have your voter data updated and stored where it is easily accessible in your CRM, it’s time to focus on strategy. Your office should send out its first enewsletter to constituents, hold a Telephone Town Hall, distribute a press release, and set up your Eventbrite and IQ integration, so your calendar is always synced as your office begins planning events. Your office should also have a preliminary social media strategy in place to reach your constituents through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. as well as a draft calendar for when to promote certain topics and issues to your constituents via all of these channels.
Amid all the hustle and bustle of the Hill and at home in your district offices, it can be easy to forget those small, yet vital, things that need to get done to ensure that your office runs smoothly over the next two years. Need a hand? Contact your Leidos IQ contact or email firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Click here to download a printable PDF of this checklist for your own office!