March 11, 2013
Is your association or coalition seeking attention from lawmakers on Capitol Hill or in the statehouse for an issue or cause? Is there concern about pending legislation—or does your organization want a champion in government for a bill you would like to see introduced? If so, you may want to consider organizing a fly-in.
A fly-in, also known as a Capitol Hill Day, is an opportunity to assemble company executives—and key association or coalition staff—in Washington, D.C. or your preferred state capital to meet with a slate of lawmakers (or their staff) and advocate for your issue.
Fly-ins require a lot planning and preparation. Checklists are an absolute necessity. Following are the key elements of any fly-in:
- Determine the best date for the event. It should be scheduled when Congress or state lawmakers are in session. (Spring and early summer are the best times for D.C. fly-ins.)
- Figure out which lawmakers are on your “wish list.” Members of Congress representing states or districts where your association has members—or who have oversight of your issue on key committees—should be top of the list.
- You’ll need a scheduler to help secure the meetings and create an itinerary for visiting executives. You will also need draft talking points for your members that succinctly outline your “ask,” and fact sheets or other useful collateral to leave behind following your meetings.
- It’s also a good idea to hold a pre-fly-in meeting for all participants to outline the itinerary, review the talking points and get all of your participants on the same page.
- Following the fly-in, your association executives should write to lawmakers who they met with to thank them, as well as to re-state their case.
Fly-ins certainly are a lot of work, but they are worth the effort. Kellen’s Washington, D.C. office has significant experience organizing fly-in programs for our clients and would be pleased to help you launch your own.