Tips for bringing a group to General Assembly
Planning to bring a group to Richmond to advocate for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment? Here are a few quick tips and resources to get started.
Coordinate with the VA ratify ERA statewide campaign
Let us know you are coming by completing the form here. We can help to coordinate and provide assistance on the ground during your visit to Richmond, including providing materials and access to subject matter experts.
We will maintain office space throughout session in downtown Richmond across the street from the legislator’s offices (located in the Pocahontas Building):
10th Floor, #1012
919 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23219
You can find names and contact information for the headquarters coordinators here: https://varatifyera.wordpress.com/ga2019/citizen-advocates/
Choose a Date and Create a Schedule
- Consider how you might plan your visit to coincide with other scheduled activities:
- Once you have selected a date, plan a schedule of events. Find detailed logistical information including parking, locations and more on our A Day at the General Assembly page. Consider including:
- Transportation to and from the General Assembly, or coordination of car pools
- A group briefing to review the issue and the plan for the meeting and the rest of the day
- A meeting with your legislator or staff
- Observe session / be introduced from the gallery
- A group meal or allotted time for a meal nearby
- A debriefing to discuss how the meeting went and next steps. Make sure to email feedback with us here.
- Reach out to your friends or members of your organization to encourage others to join you. Encourage a diverse group of participants to attend, and to focus on recruiting a few key participants who have background knowledge on the issue, if possible.
- Create and share a facebook event to get the word out.
- Check out our Facebook posts and social media web page for ideas.
- Use a ticketing tool such as EventBrite to manage signups and payment for travel arrangements
Schedule Legislative Appointments
- Find your legislators at https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/
- Decide whether you will manage appointment scheduling or the participants will schedule their own appointments. If participants schedule their own appointments, make sure they share that information with you.
- Make sure to organize appointments with both state senators and the state delegates
- Appointments must be scheduled in advance – otherwise it is unlikely that participants will have the opportunity to meet with the legislator or staff. Scheduling can start about three weeks before the lobby day – some offices will not confirm meetings until one week in advance.
- Being flexible in scheduling makes it more likely that you’ll be able to meet with the legislator. Meetings with legislative aides are still valuable if the legislators themselves are unavailable.
- See more tips on the A Day at the General Assembly page.
Make sure that participants have all of the information they will need on the day of your visit. We have prepared many of the materials you’ll need, which are available through links below. Printed materials packets could include:
- Agenda of the day’s activities
- List of appointments
- Logistical information – download VAratifyERA logistics summary here!
- A letter from leadership of your organization asking for support on the issue
- Talking points
- We can provide a printed notebook with reference materials to bring to your meeting – visit our office to check it out. Please be sure to return the notebook at the end of the day!
- Download VAratifyERA travel activities and resources here!
- Materials to be given to the legislator. Check out our legislator binder here!
- Sample thank you letter
- Any materials specific to your organization
Plan Follow Up
- Encourage participants to sent personal thank you notes to each elected official or staff member visited. Consider also sending a thank you note from your organization.
- If participants talk to a legislator (or their staff) who is not publicly supporting ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, it is helpful to share information about your conversation with the statewide VAratifyERA campaign, you can email us here.
- Share your experience on social media (use hashtag #VAratifyERA) and with members of your organization and other people you know through newsletters and other means.