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A #Townhall for a New Age

When used correctly, online communications can be remarkably effective in fostering increased citizen engagement with politics and policy. Through our own research, we have found that online town hall meetings have the potential to be a powerful tool for strengthening the relationship between Members and their constituents.

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Inside the Hill: Who Handles Online Communications

In the seventh installment of 'Inside the Hill', congressional staff and Congressman Honda discuss how they use and manage online communications.

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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: 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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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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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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New House Calendar Benefits Grassroots Advocates

The newly released House calendar for the 112th Congress presents a fascinating opportunity for grassroots advocates seeking to build relationships and influence legislators. The calendar makes good on part of a promise the House Republicans made that they would operate differently than Democrats, and even previous Republican leaders.

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Lady Gaga and the Evolution of Constituent Communications

Members of Congress and their staffs have gotten used to a world where a constituent writes a postal letter or e-mail or calls the office and the office responds in written form to the citizen's concerns. One of the challenges that social media creates for congressional offices is that they can no longer just wait for constituent communication to come to them. They now need to monitor external sources to capture it all.

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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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