Oct 07 2011
Congressional offices are receiving more constituent mail than ever, and reallocating staff resources to deal with the increasing volume according to a new report out this week from the Congressional Management Foundation.
The report, entitled “How Citizen Advocacy is Changing Mail Operations on Capitol Hill”, is part of CMF’s “Communicating with Congress” series and identifies some significant trends in constituent communications, including a continued rise in the number of messages sent by constituents to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and how offices are dealing with this increase in communication volume.
Among the report’s key findings:
- Mail volume in congressional offices continues to increase exponentially.
- Congressional offices are using email to reply to constituent email.
- Constituent communications are consuming more time from congressional offices.
- Constituent mail is taking a significant amount of time to respond to whether or not there is a prepared text available.
What does all this mean for the average Key Contact? Increasing constituent mail can be considered a positive thing – more citizens are engaging their elected officials on issues. However, it means that it is more important than ever to concentrate on your message to be sure yours rises to the top above all the other loads of “form letters” your lawmakers’ offices receive. ASCE members who use our Click & Connect with Congress advocacy website should take the time to add your own personal perspective as a civil engineer and resident of your region or state to the form messages that ASCE provides. This provides information your lawmaker can’t get anywhere else, and will help distinguish your message from the rest.
As the volume of constituent communications continues to rise, Congressional budgets are being squeezed, just like all other parts of government (and much of the private sector as well.) This means responding to communications will only get more challenging for Congressional offices with limited staff, and response times may lengthen. Key Contacts should be patient, but persistent, when communicating with their lawmakers.
4 responses so far