Visits 101 Guide
A step-by-step guide on how to have a successful meeting with your member of Congress

 

Scheduling Your Visit

 First: Find Your Member

Head to our Action Center website to find out who your members of Congress are: www.advocacy.myeloma.org

 Second: Check Your Member’s Website

Often, there is a form you can fill out on their website-and it’s super easy! Typically you will just have to fill in your name, email address, the date you want to have the meeting and the reason for having the meeting-to talk about making March Myeloma Awareness Month! If you haven’t heard back in a couple of days, give the local district office a call to follow-up!

Third: Call the District Office

Not all members have a form on their website to request a meeting. If this is the case, call the district office. Typically a receptionist or “scheduler” will answer the call. Tell them your name and that you’re a constituent requesting to meet with your member of Congress or a member of their staff. In most cases, you will be meeting with the staff member. You should also let them know that you are affiliated with the IMF and would like to talk to them about making March Myeloma Awareness Month. The scheduler should be able to find some dates and times that would work for a meeting.

Fourth: Contact the Advocacy Team

Once you have your visits scheduled, contact Lindsey from the advocacy team at ltrischler@myeloma.com . She will go over everything you need to know going into the visit.

 The Visit

 If you are doing a group visit:

  • A small group of constituents is great because it can provide multiple perspectives on an issue.
  • Assign someone as a meeting facilitator who makes introductions, designates certain people to speak on particular issues, and wraps up the meeting
  • Assign another person as note taker to record what happens at the meeting and legislator or staff member’s response

 Talking Points:

  • Ask them what they know about multiple myeloma
  • Explain what myeloma is and give some basic facts and statistics.

For example:

  • Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer, but represents only 1% of total cancer diagnosis
  • 100,000 people in the U.S. are living with myeloma and another 24,000 will be diagnosed this year
  • Tell them YOUR story. Let them know about how and when you are diagnosed, the treatment you have gone through and what your life has been like since you have had myeloma.
  • Emphasize that myeloma is not well known-had you heard of it before you had been diagnosed? When you told people about your diagnosis how many were familiar with myeloma?

 The “ASK”: Cosponsor H.Res.174

After you go through your different talking points, it’s time for the “ask”, which is your main reason for being there-you want your member to cosponsor H.Res.174 which would designate March as Myeloma Action Month*! Your conversation up to the ask has showcased why there needs to be more awareness of multiple myeloma.

*Since the bill was introduced last year before we made the switch to Myeloma Action Month, the bill language refers to the resolution as Myeloma Awareness Month

Tips for a Successful Visit

Be prompt, patient and flexible
If you are going with a group, designate a spokesperson
Stay on point and be concise
Don’t lecture or monopolize time
Enjoy yourself and make an impact!

What’s next?

The key for a successful member-constituent relationship is to stay in touch after the meeting.

  • Make sure you thank the member or their staffer for taking time to meet with you.
  • Offer to be a resource moving forward should they have any additional questions about myeloma or the legislation.