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citizen engagement

Connecting the Offline and Online Worlds: Rep. Karen Bass Experiments with QR Codes

Technology can advance at a breakneck speed. It seems like new communications vehicles are created all the time and it can be significant challenge for congressional staff to help the Member manage their legislative and other representational duties and keep up with all of the latest trends. That's why I never cease to be amazed at how Members and staff are able to find the time to be creative and innovative. But, being afraid to experiment is a recipe for being left in the dust on Capitol Hill and Los Angeles Congresswoman Karen Bass and her staff have been experimenting with Quick Response or 'QR' Codes.

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Inside the Hill: The Power of Online Video

In the fifth installment of 'Inside the Hill', congressional staff discuss how online video can help connect citizens and Members of Congress.

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One Year Closer to Perfecting Our Union

One year ago today the Congressional Management Foundation launched its new venture, the Partnership for a More Perfect Union. For those of you that have been following the Partnership, you know that this represents a broadening of CMF's core mission, which has always been to support the Member, committee, and leadership offices of the U.S. Congress. Now, through the Partnership, CMF is seeking to improve the communication, understanding, and relationship between Members of Congress and the citizens they represent.

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Inside the Hill: How The Public Is Heard

In the fourth installment of "Inside the Hill", Members of Congress and congressional staff discuss how citizens' voices are heard on Capitol Hill.

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Ask Us: “Protocols” for Communicating with Congressional Staff

Obviously, Members of Congress have a constitutional responsibility to interact with their constituents because the First Amendment extends us the right "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." But what about the chief of staff, the legislative director, or the legislative assistant for small business issues? Do I as an individual citizen have a right to communicate with those individuals?

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Advanced Studies: Innovative Ways to Engage Citizens

In our evaluations of congressional websites we found that there is a digital divide in Congress (PDF), with 'A' and 'F' being the two most common letter grades. While we will continue to cover the basics, we also want to highlight a few new and innovative ways Members of Congress are engaging citizens in the 112th Congress.

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Constituents Tell Rep. Forbes What They Think Through His “instaPoll”

Members have long included short polling questions in their regular newsletters or on their websites, and some even pose questions on Facebook or Twitter. Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), however, is taking a slightly different approach. Rather than tacking on a polling question to a much larger email newsletter—almost as an afterthought—he created a cleverly branded regular poll of his constituents called the “instaPoll.”

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The First CRM of Congress

I recently made an historic discovery regarding what is probably the first system to track relationships between Members of Congress and organizations that seek to influence them. Any grassroots or government relations professional knows that it is essential to have an understanding of Congress, and one of the best ways to do this is to set up a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track relationships between supporters and legislators. The tools also are used to note important characteristics or interests of the legislator that may either connect him to your cause, track meeting discussions, and note follow-up actions.

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It’s Not How You Send It, It’s What’s Inside

When communicating with congressional offices, the most pressing question used to be: are email or postal messages more effective? While each has its advantages, congressional staff view them equally. The more important question is: are the messages personalized?

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Senator Bingaman Reinvents the Constituent Telephone Call - Hear How They Did It

Managing high volumes of constituent calls is a challenge for many congressional offices, but the office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is taking matters into its own hands to help New Mexicans get their answer when they first call the office.

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