The Current

Advocacy News + Updates

Here at IJM, the team is getting ready for our annual Advocacy Summit. The event is made up of two parts: on Day 1, we do in-depth training and development of advocacy skills, and Day 2, we head to Capitol Hill and lobby our members of Congress. It's an opportunity to have a great impact in the fight for freedom, so we want to make sure our advocates are prepared to make the most of their time in Washington. Over the course of a long career in advocacy, I've done more than a few lobby days, and spent my share of time on Capitol Hill.

Here are my three top tips on preparing for a successful and enjoyable lobby experience.

Pack for walking and warm weather.

Like many major urban areas, Washington is navigated best on foot, and over longer distances, via public transit. While—of course—you want to look professional, you also want to make sure that your shoes are suited to trekking around the Hill between meetings. Another thing to consider while you pack is that the city is known for its warm climate: spring and summer can be pleasant, but the fact remains that when Washington is warm, it can be really warm, especially for those who are used to a cooler climate. Similar to packing professional yet comfortable shoes, bring presentable wear made of breathable fabrics.

SEE: Washington weather in September.

ACCESS: Locations for the Summit—via this map

Make the most of available resources.

You can get "ahead of the curve" by taking advantage of the information you can acess in advance. We've prepared all kinds of material for you to use to get a grasp on advocacy, or hone already developed skills. Whether you're new to advocacy or an old hand, it's always a good idea to do due diligence and familiarize yourself with what we'll be talking about at the Summit.

WATCH: The building blocks of a meeting with your member of Congress—the 4 C's

SEE: Accurate, brief and courteous—tips for a productive meeting with your member of Congress

SEE: The Advocate's Handbook—go deep and expand your skills (and your impact!)

READ: Our blog posts on the focus of this year's Summit, the #EndSlaveryAct

Think of questions in advance!

Find out what we'll be talking about over the course of our time together and identify areas you'd like to know more about. Understand the messages we're trying to communicate and see how a movement of political will can—and has—changed the course of history. 

ACCESS: The 2015 Summit Agenda

WATCH: Why your voice matters