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Award-Winning Characteristic #4: Constituent Services and Casework

In our continuing series about Gold Mouse criteria, this week's topic is about meeting the needs of your constituents online. Every Member office website should answer constituent questions about how the office can assist them with specific federal agency issues. In addition, your website should include information on all of the basic services that congressional offices provide, such as internships, flag requests, and tours. Fortunately, most of the drafting of this content need only be done once, and does not require significant updating unless policies change.

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Five Ways to Manage and Capitalize on Redistricting

Ah, it’s that time of the decade again! As you know, every ten years states undergo a redrawing of districts that affects the make-up and boundaries of each district – and will impact your boss’ constituency in the coming Congress. In some districts the population might not be altered very much, but in others the Member’s constituency could be completely different.  You may end up representing a new ethnic population or add a military post. Whatever the results may be, it is important for you and your new constituents to get to know one another so that your office can provide the best possible service. CMF has outlined five areas you should keep in mind while learning about and supporting your boss’ new constituency.

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CMF Disagrees with NYT Op-Ed on Casework

Part of CMF's expanding mission is to explain to the public how Congress actually works and dispel the myths perpetuated in mainstream and online media. Regrettably, we found the need to do this after the New York Times published a rather uninformed opinion piece on casework operations on Sunday.

Follow the link below to read CMF’s reply, written by our Chair Emeritus of the Board of Directors and former CMF Executive Director, Ira Chaleff.

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Highlighting Online Innovations in the House

As we mentioned last week, our Gold Mouse Award researchers have their jobs cut out for them, reviewing 92 criteria for each of the 538 Member office sites (there were three vacant seats). (Review our detailed methodology here in PDF.) Needless to say, it stands out when an office is doing something online that others are not. That’s why we wanted to highlight these features – they may not seem innovative by some standards, but their novelty on the Hill is worth sharing in the hope that other offices get creative and inspired in their own communications with constituents.

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ABOUT CMF

Inside of Capitol Dome

CMF is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to helping Congress and its Members meet the evolving needs and expectations of an engaged and informed 21st century citizenry.

Our work focuses on improving congressional operations and enhancing citizen engagement through research, publications, training, and management services.

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PROJECTS

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Communicating with Congress The Internet forever changed how citizens and Congress interacts. The goal of this project is to facilitate a more meaningful democratic dialogue.

 

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Gold Mouse Project
Congress should effectively communicate with and serve citizens online. CMF assesses congressional websites to identify best and innovative practices that can be more widely adopted by the House and Senate.

 

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Inside the Hill
Produced by Founding Partner Fleishman-Hillard, this video series allows you to hear directly from Members and staff on how technology is changing the way Congress works.

 

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Life in Congress
This novel research project by CMF and the Society for Human Resource Management has two goals: identify the factors that motivate congressional staff and shed some light on Congress as a workplace.

 

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21st Century Town Hall Meetings CMF seeks to continue our innovative work in this area by conducting comparative research on in-person town halls, online town halls, and telephone town halls.