Since 2020, many advocacy organizations have been forced to replace their traditional in-person presence on Capitol Hill with a virtual version — including for what were those key in-person lobby days. This has required a complete reinvention of fly-in strategies and tactics, with some unexpected benefits. Many organizations report higher attendance for virtual fly-in events since the reduced time commitments and lack of geographical constraints make advocates — and potentially lawmakers and staffers — more likely to participate.
Whether you’re considering a virtual fly-in for 2021 or are already down the road on planning one, here are a few key tools that can help you deliver the most successful event possible.
Engage Your Advocates to Participate
Any successful fly-in begins with the participation and enthusiasm of your advocates. They’ll be the ones leading the congressional meetings, studying the talking points, and moving your message forward. With a robust platform for advocate outreach and marketing, you can be sure your most ardent supporters will participate in your virtual event.
VoterVoice can help you impact policy and mobilize advocates with grassroots and grasstops advocacy tools. Send emails, text messages, social posts, and more through the platform, then direct advocates right to your online action center where they can respond to your requests instantaneously. They’ll be able to sign up for virtual fly-in events and even contact their congressperson directly through the page.
Connect with Key Congressional Partners
Providing key priorities to engaged congressional partners is a core component of a successful fly-in day. Whether virtual or in-person, you need current, detailed information on members of Congress and their staff. But it goes beyond contact information — knowing who has supported key legislation for your issues is just as important.
Using FiscalNote’s issues management platform, you can generate rich reports of congressional leaders that support your core issues, along with bills they’ve co-sponsored on the topic and other key metrics. Together with contact info for these potential supporters, this intelligence creates a “road map” for the most important targets your virtual fly-in should engage with.
Equip Participants to Report in Real Time
As your most enthusiastic advocates make their way through meetings with their congressional representatives, you’ll be eager to hear how those meetings go. A mobile app like CQ Converge can help make it easy for virtual fly-in participants to share results from their activities in real time.
In addition to simply providing necessary contact info across Congress, Converge enables participants to create a custom schedule for meetings within the app and send push notification reminders as meetings approach. They can post their notes and even photos from meetings directly into the app, which will allow you to view and examine them as well. Information is synchronized across platforms for easy access and viewable from a web-based dashboard in a single spot. You can even white-label the app with your organization’s brand for a seamless experience. CQ Converge helps you organize more effectively, communicate directly, and deliver and measure results from your virtual fly-in.
Consider a Turnkey Solution
A turnkey solution for your virtual fly-in — using a third party to handle the entire process, from recruiting through to hosting and promoting the event — may be the fastest and smartest way to get a successful event off the ground quickly. With CQ Roll Call, you can take advantage of a combined 140 years’ experience covering Congress and all the brand equity that comes along with it.
CQ Roll Call’s virtual fly-in package combines a full-scale digital event with powerful promotional tools that extend your impact across our print and digital outlets. You’ll deliver timely content that helps drive forward your policy goals and increase awareness of your issue. Elevate your message with a virtual event featuring a prominent policymaker who is passionate about your mission and a keynote interview with one of Roll Call's newsroom experts. You can also amplify your message across CQ Roll Call's media platforms with custom ad buys from across our publications.
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