Building Trust & Effectiveness in Congress
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Challenges in Congress: CMF's Brad Fitch on C-SPAN [VIDEO]

Last month, Brad Fitch, President and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), was interviewed on C-SPAN's Washington Journal. Based on research done by CMF and 13 years of personal experience working on the Hill, Brad discussed a wide range of topics on the show, painting a more accurate picture of the life and work of Members of Congress. Topics ranged from the initial challenges with setting up a congressional office, hiring staff, and learning new issues, to debunking some common myths about Congress such as congressional pay and office budgets. 

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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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The Transition to Congress: Defining a Role for the New Member

The next 60 days are crucial for Members-elect and their aides. Setting up a congressional office requires effective decision-making and completing hundreds of tasks. During these transitional months, CMF will highlight some of the most critical activities new Members and staff must focus on. One of the first is to define the new Member’s role in Congress.

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Work-Life in Congress: a Work in Progress

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released a ground-breaking report this week, “Life in Congress: Aligning Work and Life in the U.S. House and Senate.” The report is based on a survey of more than 1,400 congressional staff and is the first inside look at work-life issues in this unusual work environment.

Outside observers might conclude that the Congress lags behind the private sector in recognizing and adapting the work environment and policies for a 21st century workforce. And while there is some data in the report to suggest this (notably, the significant gap in staffers’ attitudes about the “importance” of work-life balance and their “satisfaction”), it’s essential also to have some historical perspective.

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Congressional Staff Dissatisfied with Work-Life Flexibility, Survey by SHRM and CMF Shows

U.S. House and Senate staff members value flexibility to balance life and work issues, but fewer than one in four is satisfied with the flexibility afforded them — a gap that is more pronounced than in the private sector, according to a research report released today by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

In a novel look at Congress as a workplace, the research report — “Life in Congress: Aligning Work and Life in the U.S. House and Senate” — showed that 55 percent of congressional staff members said the flexibility to balance life and work issues is very important. At the same time, only 26 percent of them were very satisfied with the flexibility provided in their work.

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Interaction, Interconnectedness, and Interoperability: the Success of VYou on Constituent Communications

Whether serious (how will your state fare in the allocation of federal education dollars) or frivolous (is your Member of Congress a Yankees or a Mets fan), constituents are genuinely curious about the views of their elected officials. Unfortunately, the opportunity to pose these questions doesn’t often present itself.

Enter VYou, the online Q&A forum where online participants can conveniently upload questions to celebrities, experts and even their Members of Congress … if that Member has decided to participate, he or she can answer the questions posed by their constituents  in an audio-visual format.

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Learning the Lessons of Campaign 2012 and Applying Them to Your Advocacy Campaign

When it comes to technology and tactics, political campaigns are often the laboratories for advocacy campaigns. What was tested in November’s election is often translated into grassroots strategies after the Congress is sworn in. So what are those lessons and how can you apply them to YOUR advocacy campaign? That was the subject of the most recent 2012 Advocacy Leaders Network (ALN) workshop entitled “Learning the Lessons of Campaign 2012 and Transforming Them to an Advocacy World.”

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You’re Invited to the Final Advocacy Leaders Network Workshop September 21

The final of four workshops in the 2012 Advocacy Leaders Network (ALN) series will be held next Friday, September 21. The fourth workshop, “Learning the Lessons of Campaign 2012 and Transforming them to an Advocacy World,” will discuss how to apply campaign tactics to your advocacy efforts – all aimed at senior advocacy, government affairs, and public relations professionals. ALN is hosted by the Congressional Management Foundation, as part of its Partnership for a More Perfect Union, which seeks to enhance communications, understanding, and the relationship between citizens and Congress. It is sponsored by Beekeeper Group, Bloomberg Government, and Verizon.

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Five Strategies for Building Successful Relationships with Elected Officials

Building relationships with lawmakers and their staff often appears intimidating, confusing and – worst of all – a waste of time. However, a survey of congressional staff conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation showed “in-person visits by constituents” was the best strategy to influence an undecided lawmaker. But how do you do it?

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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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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.

Read more about CMF

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.