Building and maintaining relationships with public officials should be something you do year-round to tell your Y story, show your impact and help advance policies that strengthen communities.
Why do we need to do this? Public officials make decisions that influence things that happen inside our Ys and things that affect the individuals and families we serve. It’s great for them to hear from lobbyists who sit in an office in DC, but really, you know best about what your community needs.
Interaction with federal lawmakers back home is a key strategy for building relationships. In fact, a Congressional Management Foundation survey recently asked congressional staff the best way for members of Congress to gain an understanding of constituent views—“attending events in the district/state” was the top answer, with 98% of congressional staff noting its importance. These events paint a picture for the public official—bringing home for them the very real way in which Ys impact the community day in and day out.
Congressional recess is when Members of Congress head home to spend time with constituents in their districts or state. It is a great opportunity for you to meet with your representative and senators or their staff.
Take advantage of these district work periods to invite your members of Congress to your Y and experience firsthand the impact you have on the lives of people in your community. View the Congressional Calendar to learn when your Members of Congress might be home. The summer recess in August is a great time to invite your members, but there are also work periods throughout the year. The purpose of this toolkit is to help YMCAs deepen relationships with members of Congress, but these strategies can also be used with state and local officials. You can include them in any activities/events you hold with your federal lawmakers