This page is designed to aid community members prepare for meeting with a member of Congress. In preparation for meeting with a member of Congress, it is recommended to fill out CAIR's elected official meeting planning sheet in conjunction with the information provided on this page.
Avoid delegations larger than five. If the meeting is in DC, two is the best number. Select people who will stay on message and not let their emotions get away from them. Know in advance of the meeting the job you want each member of your team to perform.
It is important to be clear about your purpose. Be specific in your requests and create the opportunity to follow up. For instance asking, "Will you vote in favor of legislation X" or "Will you bring this point up during debate on the House floor" are examples of specific requests. Make sure you have a name and contact information so you can follow-up. If you are in a position to organize a town hall with Muslim constituents, inviting the congressperson to visit with the community is another good strategy.
As you frame your arguments to elicit support for your concerns, think about how the congressperson adopting the issue will help you both, and how it will impact their district. Make adopting your position appealing to their interests. Try to mix a brief personal story in with your facts and figures.
Don't make commitments you cannot keep. Don't tell the congressperson or their staff that you want to "make them aware of" an issue. Once they find you're not asking for anything specific, their attention may drift.
Materials supporting your issue should be no more than five pages in length. Your first paragraph should clearly state what you are concerned about and what can be done.
Fill out a copy of CAIR's lobby meeting report to document the meeting. Send a thank you note to everyone with whom you met. Promptly send any material you promised and take any action to which you committed. Call in two weeks and ask what action has been taken.
Want to know more? Need help or advice? Call CAIR and talk to our government affairs department.