State Captain Resource Center
On this page, State Captains can find everything they need to help them in their duties for Hill Day 2019.
Making Introductions and Contacting Attendees
- A draft invitation to Hill Day 2019. Send this letter to your networks and encourage them to attend Hill Day. The more attendees we have, the larger our impact will be! Feel free to edit the letter as needed.
- A draft letter with a Welcome and Introductory Message. Send this letter to your state’s registered attendees to thank them for participating in Hill Day, to introduce yourself, and to inform attendees how they will go about meeting with their Member of Congress. You will need to decide whether you are going to schedule all Hill visits or whether your attendees should schedule their own and coordinate with you. Feel free to edit the letter as needed.
- Keep track of how many people in your state are registered by emailing Shelley Starkey at ShelleyS@TheNationalCouncil.org. Registered State Captains should also receive automatic registration updates on Mondays from our partners at Community Brands.
Scheduling Hill Meetings with Legislators
- A template letter to use to begin scheduling Hill meetings with legislators. Feel free to edit the letter as needed.
- The 2019 Congressional Health Staff Directory: Find your legislators’ health care staff members and reach out to request a meeting.
- Register your meetings: Once you’ve confirmed your meeting times, be sure to input them on this Google sheet so we can track scheduled meetings. This is the only way we can know how great our reach is and avoid duplicate efforts.
Tips for Scheduling Meetings
- CONTENT: Specify that the purpose of your meeting is to discuss “federal health care policy affecting people with mental illnesses and addictions and the community providers who serve them.”
- INFLUENCE: Request a meeting with both your legislator and his or her health care staff members. If you have a relationship with the member of Congress and believe you can obtain an audience with him or her personally, don’t hesitate to ask.
- FLEXIBILITY: Be flexible — Congressional staff schedules are busy, so take whatever time is offered – morning or afternoon – so long as the time does not conflict with your other appointments. An ideal window of time to schedule is between 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- TIME CHECK: The walk from the Hyatt to Capitol Hill will take about 10-15 minutes, so be sure to factor that in when scheduling your meetings. Also, make sure to leave plenty of time between Senate and House visits, as it takes about 20 minutes to walk from the Senate side to the House side of Capitol Hill. If possible, try to schedule your Senate back to back and group House meetings together as best as possible.
- SHARED RESPONSIBILITY: Finally, don’t forget that you don’t need to schedule all of the meetings. Ask others from your state to help out with scheduling. If you are delegating, remember to have them share all confirmed appointments with you so that you can enter them online.
Download the Hill Day App!
Our Hill Day app is currently being developed. When ready, the Hill Day App will be the only place to get up to date information about the event, a first look at our legislative priorities and asks, and so much more! Please make sure to download it prior to the event and encourage your delegation to join you in being trendy and in the know!
Become a Meeting Master!
Whether this is your first Hill Day or your tenth, going to the Hill with your delegation to lobby for our priorities can be overwhelming and exhilarating! We know that it requires advanced planning and the more you plan ahead, the better! Here are a few tips on how to strategize the flow of your meetings and coordinate your delegation:
- Before you go on the Hill, make sure you have selected a meeting lead. This person will be in charge of making sure the meeting stays on track, decides who talks when and about what issue (remember to rely on the talking points provided!) You will have opportunities on both the 17th and the 18th to meet with your delegation, but feel free to get a head start on planning via email or host a conference call with your registrants before heading to D.C.
- When you arrive at the meeting, do a quick round of introductions to let the staffer/Member of Congress know who everyone is. Have each person go around and say their name and organization.
- Once everyone has been introduced, it’s time to talk behavioral health! Whomever was assigned to speak about a specific issue will go over the talking points, specific asks, and provide information on how it will affect their state/district. Others can also chime in and provide supplemental information as needed.
- Don’t feel obligated to speak about all of the policy asks, but pick the top 2 and focus on them – the leave behind packet will provide them with information on the others not mentioned.
- Remember to make a specific “ask.” Rather than simply highlighting the policy issues encompassed by the Hill Day asks, be sure to give your legislator a specific action item. Highlight the bill numbers you are talking about, and leave them with a direct ask for their support. E.G. “Please cosponsor the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824/ H.R. 1767).”
- Once you’ve gone through everything, ask if the staffer has any questions.
- Before the meeting ends, make sure to thank the person you met with and reiterate that you are asking for their boss’ support on _______ and that you hope he/she will sign on.
Social Media Guide
Use the sample posts and graphics below to join the Hill Day conversation on social media and encourage your members and colleagues to register. Urge fellow partners to join the conversation by tweeting at their Twitter handles, listed on the second page. Remember to always use #HillDay19 when posting on Twitter.
Shortened registration link for Hill Day: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- We’re proud to join #mentalhealth & #addiction professionals from across the US for #HillDay19. Have you registered? https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- We’ll be at #HillDay19 to support #mentalhealth & #addiction services. Will you be there? Register today: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- It’s time to do more for people living w/ #mentalhealth & #addiction. Register for #HillDay19 to make your voice heard: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- Join @NationalCouncil & 100s of fellow advocates in DC to fight for behavioral health at #HillDay19. https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- Protect behavioral health & #addiction treatment across the nation at #HillDay19. Registration is free: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- Shape the future of health policy at #HillDay19. Register for free today: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- #HillDay19: your chance to make your voice heard to protect behavioral health. Learn more & register for free: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
Sample Facebook and LinkedIn Posts:
- On September 17-18, join the National Council and hundreds of fellow advocates in Washington, D.C., to fight for mental health care and addiction treatment across the nation. Register for Hill Day today (registration is free): https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- We will be in Washington, D.C., September 17-18 at the National Council’s Hill Day 2019 to urge Congress to pass crucial mental health and addiction legislation. Learn more and register for Hill Day: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
- Make your voice heard to protect behavioral health and shape the future of health policy at Hill Day 2019. Learn more about Hill Day and register for free: https://bit.ly/2UIEEMP
Common Issues and Solutions
Although we always hope things will go off without a hitch, issues can still occur. Here is a list of the most common issues State Captains run into and tips on how to overcome them. Have you run into any challenges or have any questions not listed here? Let us know!
Issue: Attendees make their own appointments and don’t keep you informed
Solution: Make sure you’re communicating often and make it clear what your expectations are. Sending out regular emails with updates on what meetings you’ve scheduled and asking your delegation to add to the list based on meetings they’ve scheduled can help solve any scheduling issues. We will also be monitoring appointments being made through our online registration tool and we will keep you updated on anything that seems out of place.
Issue: A number of your delegation wants to attend the same meeting
Solution: Don’t worry! If you anticipate having a large number of people for a given meeting, ask for a large meeting room – most offices can easily accommodate you! And don’t forget that there will be individuals from outside of your direct network attending Hill Day, so make sure that you include them in your meetings and delegate some responsibility to them.
Issue: Someone who has volunteered to take the lead on scheduling a specific meeting doesn’t follow through.
Solution: If Hill Day is a few weeks away and you still haven’t heard from your lead about specifics, it is time to pass the torch! Even if someone seems super enthusiastic early on, other things tend to come up! If you notice they’re not meeting expectations, ask someone else you trust to take over rather than waiting to hear from them.
Issue: Attendees want to know the specifics around what issues they’ll be lobbying on during their visits.
Solution: Let them know that we try to be as current as possible and don’t release the ‘asks’ until a couple of weeks prior to the big event – but that we promise they’ll have everything they need to be the best advocates out there! Spoiler alert: our asks will be consistent with prior years and will be released through the Hill Day app about a month in advance.
It is okay to delegate your responsibilities. Just because you’re the State Captain, doesn’t mean you have to do all the work. In addition, don’t forget that we are all in this together. Make sure to include everyone from your state in your outreach and communications regardless of which organization they’re with!
For any additional comments, questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Shelley Starkey at ShelleyS@TheNationalCouncil.org