The Day Inside the District (DITD) program is a local initiative that provides an opportunity to generate interest and support of issues important to the HR professional on a federal and state level.
Most Members of Congress and state legislators spend the majority of their time while in office in their home districts. This time away from performing their legislative duties provides a unique opportunity for HR professionals to interact with their legislators when they are removed from the myriad of demands on their time when the legislator is in Washington or their state capital - committee hearings, floor votes, other constituent meetings, etc.
While legislators are back home in their districts during a legislative recess, their personal schedules tend to be more relaxed and, in turn, afford legislators the opportunity to spend more time with their constituents in face-to-face meetings.
SHRM's DITD program affords members the opportunity to organize a variety of in-district meetings with legislators - whether it be at a Town Hall Meeting with the legislator in a nearby venue in their home district, a face-to-face meeting in their district office, or a Capital Day when a state legislator is performing their duties while the state legislature is in session.
Planning for DITD Congressional Meetings
- Find your Member of Congress use the "Find Your Elected Officials" box in the right hand navigation of this page to find your Member of Congress and your legislator’s district address and contact information. Contact your elected official’s office in writing via fax as soon as possible. Address the request to the scheduler, be sure to include your name, meeting date requested, the issues you wish to discuss, and your contact information (phone and email). Once the request has been made, follow up with a phone call to the scheduler three to five days later. Be persistent as you might not be able to confirm a meeting until the week prior to the requested date for the meeting.
- Send a meeting request letter or give them a call. Use the template letter to send an email, fax to your legislator’s scheduler or call their district office. See SHRM’s template letter
- Confirm your meeting a week prior with the scheduler.
- Contact SHRM’s Government Affairs staff to find out what HR-related legislative issues are trending on Capitol Hill that you should discuss with lawmakers and their staffs. Ask for fact sheets for the legislative issues so that you and your group can prepare for your meeting.
- Print copies of the fact sheets to leave with the Member of Congress and his/her staff.
- Plan to share stories of how the legislative issues you will be discussing will have a direct impact on your organization and its employees.
- Attend your meeting. Be early for your meeting and plan to wait. Ask a staff member to take a photo of you with the Member of Congress.
- Send thank you notes to the Member of Congress, the scheduler and any other staff you met with. See SHRM’s template thank you letter
- Feedback. It is important that SHRM’s Government Affairs Team captures what you talked about during your meeting. Use the SHRM feedback form to give us additional details about your meeting and its outcomes. Please submit feedback forms within one week of your meeting w/ your respective lawmaker and/or his/her staff. See SHRM’s feedback form
Event Types and Activities
Organize a Press Event
A press event should include local and national leaders from a wide variety of organizations and who can voice support for your issue. It may also be useful to have materials available to pass out to the audience.
Request an In-District Meeting
Call the scheduler in the primary state office of the member of Congress and ask for a brief meeting to discuss your issue’s policy and priorities. Be sure to prepare a brief agenda, allow the member of Congress to express her/his ideas, and don’t leave without extracting some specific policy commitment from her/him.
Conduct an Issue Forum
Organizing a forum and inviting experts and community leaders to the table is an excellent way to bring an issue to the forefront. Keep in mind, however, that a forum should educate the public, not serve as a political platform.
Attend Town Hall Meetings
Many members of Congress arrange town hall meetings during the recess period. It is important, especially since such information is not often readily available to the public, to find out from their office when and where these meetings will take place. It may also be useful to pull together materials for the member of Congress and her/his staff
Encourage Constituent Calls and E-mails
Members of Congress are often responsive to voter opinion, especially before she/he returns to the state to meet with constituents. Calling and e-mailing a member of Congress before recess or while in town can create the impression that there are mounting objections to a member of Congress’ stance on a particular issue.
Circulate a Sign-On Letter
A sign-on letter with signatures from prominent leaders, as well as a clear outline of your position on an issue, can attract valuable attention. Distributing it at public events, as well as delivering it in person to the state office, is recommended.
Call into Local Radio Programs
Often, members of Congress appear on local radio programs and take questions from the community. Placing a call would provide a great opportunity to engage the member of Congress in a particular issue, as well as airing the issue for the public. During other times of the year, it is also important to utilize local political call-in shows as a venue to broadcast and discuss your particular issue.
Draft Op-Ed’s and Letters to the Editor
Submitting letters to local newspapers and having them go to print can prove very valuable in publicizing your issue to a wide audience. It can also function as a useful resource for activists and rallying tool for organizers.
Tips for a Successful Meeting with Your Elected Official
Once your meeting is scheduled with your elected official and or with staff, here are some tips to remember to make the meeting a success:
- Be on time or early. Time is a precious commodity to your member of Congress and their respective staff.
- Be succinct. Often times, he or she may only have 10 to15 minutes to speak with you.
- Be prepared. Be well informed. Be well organized.
- Respect the Congress member’s position. Understand his or her viewpoint.
- Leave the fact sheets (Upon your request SHRM will provide these) as a summary of your main points after the meeting is over.
- Follow up with the appropriate staff and thank him or her for their time.
Often, a member of Congress’ schedule will change throughout the day through no fault of yours. If this happens, more than likely you will meet with a staff member of the district office. Treat the meeting as if you are meeting with the member of Congress.
Template Meeting Request Letter
Attention: [INSERT SCHEDULER’S NAME]
The Honorable [INSERT Name of Member of Congress]
United States House of Representatives (OR United States Senate)
[INSERT District Street Address]
[INSERT District City, State and ZIP Code]
Dear [SCHEDULER’S Name],
As an HR constituent and member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), I am writing to request a meeting with [INSERT Senator / Representative] [INSERT Congressman’s name] in his/her district office on [INSERT DATE], to discuss issues before Congress that are important to the HR profession.
SHRM is the world’s largest human resource organization, with more than 260,000 devoted HR professionals. SHRM represents members in every congressional district and serves them by advancing the interests of the HR profession. As Congress works to solve some of our nation’s toughest challenges, HR professionals can provide unique insight into the dynamics of the 21st-century workplace that can benefit you and your staff.
I understand that [INSERT Senator / Representative]’s schedule is very busy. Please contact me at [INSERT your e-mail address] or [INSERT your phone number] to schedule this meeting.
Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
[INSERT Your Name]
Template Thank You Letter and Follow Up
Following a meeting with your lawmaker(s) and or his/her staff it is important to follow up with a “Thank You” note. Sending a thank you note serves three main purposes:
- Expresses appreciation for the time to discuss issues of importance to your profession;
- Reiterate key message points;
- Provide additional information, if necessary. (If your lawmaker and or staff has requested additional details, studies, statistics, sharing an article which mentions the issues you discussed etc.)
< Name of Staffer>
United States House of Representatives (OR United States Senate)
District Office Street Address
District Office City, State and ZIP Code
Thank you for taking the time to meet with on in your district office (or other location). I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss issues of importance to the HR community.
We would be grateful for your support on these issues.
Thank you again for the opportunity to meet with you. I am happy to keep your office informed on the issues impacting employers within the community. Please contact me via or if you need further information. I look forward to speaking with you again.
SHRM Staff Contact Information
If at any point you have questions, need guidance and or additional support, please contact SHRM’s Senior Associate of Member Advocacy, Meredith Nethercutt at Meredith.Nethercutt@shrm.org or 703/535-6417 or SHRM’s Senior Advisor of Government Relations, Chatrane Birbal at Chatrane.firstname.lastname@example.org or 703/535-6476.