Need to get your MoC’s attention? Here’s a way.
By Flannery Winchester
You’re a dedicated, enthusiastic volunteer. You’ve watched the training videos, written LTEs and letters, and are doing all the right things to build a relationship with your member of Congress. But for some reason, you and your chapter can’t catch a break. You’re having trouble getting a meeting set, or even getting on the office’s radar, it seems.
What happens now? Well, it might be time to call on CCL’s Envoys.
Who are the Envoys?
The Envoys are a group of CCL’s D.C. chapter members led by volunteer Max Broad. As D.C. residents, they don’t have a voting member of Congress, so lobbying their member can only get them so far. They do, however, have easy access to the Hill. With that unique combo, they decided to provide a special service for other CCL chapters: the Envoys will hand-deliver letters from your chapter straight to members of Congress.
This service is incredibly valuable because mailing letters to the D.C. offices can take several weeks, due to anthrax screening. The Envoys offer a more timely, personal delivery, and can also reinforce the CCL message in person. It’s a fantastic way to break through the noise and get your member’s attention.
So, how can your chapter use the Envoys effectively? Here are a few dos and don’ts for taking advantage of this helpful service.
Do send them a lot of letters. “It’s really high impact when you deliver a large stack of letters,” Broad said. He sees it happen all the time: a group has sent request after request for a meeting, but hasn’t been successful. “Then we come in with a delivery on behalf of that chapter. We say, ‘Here are a couple dozen constituent letters, and they specifically want to meet with you.’ Those members have been really responsive.”
Do have a very specific ask. Your letters will have even more impact if they ask for one particular thing from your member of Congress. In addition to asking for a meeting, Broad suggested other possible asks, such as:
- Could you host a town hall?
- Would you find someone to partner with you on the Climate Solutions Caucus?
- Would you join the Republican Climate Resolution?
“Those types of asks are powerful,” Broad said. You can include them in the form of a cover letter from your chapter, just to make sure the ask is clear even after the Envoys leave.
Don’t just send one-off letters. “Sometimes folks will be tabling at events and getting volunteers to sign letters, and they’ll get one or two from people in other states,” Broad explained, which they send to the Envoys to deliver. Those actually aren’t a great opportunity for the Envoys, because it doesn’t make much of an impact—it’s too general and too few to get attention. “That’s why we like you to have an ask,” Broad said. “It’s not just saying, ‘Look at our presence.’ It’s saying ‘CCL is here in your district, and this is something you can do to help us.’”
Don’t leave it all up to the Envoys. Once the delivery is scheduled, go ahead and give the D.C. office a call. Tell them you’re a constituent and that you have an Envoy coming to drop off some materials. You can even ask the office to have their energy staffer ready to meet with the Envoy, Broad said, and sometimes they can snag a quick five minutes together. All of this boosts the office’s awareness of you, your chapter, and ultimately, Carbon Fee and Dividend.
If you’re ready to take advantage of this opportunity, you can get in touch with Max Broad, who will connect you with a specific Envoy.
Just remember these dos and don’ts, and hopefully the Envoy program will help you have a breakthrough with your member of Congress. Good luck!