| Welcoming America

Tips to Invite Local Elected Officials to Your Welcoming Week Event(s):

1. Plan Ahead and Be Flexible: Although many Welcoming Week events will be held virtually this year, being flexible in your plans will be valuable in securing the attendance of elected officials. Start reaching out at least 6-8 weeks in advance of your event (or earlier) by submitting scheduling requests.
 
2. Do Your Research: Which officials do you want to invite? What is the direct connection between that person and your message? Officials are much more likely to accept an invitation if it aligns with their own priorities. Pick your invitees based on their current legislative priorities and past statements on the importance of inclusivity, diversity, being welcoming, immigrants, refugees, etc.

3. Be Specific and Concise- Elected officials receive many requests each day, so it should be clear from the first paragraph of your message what you want from them—do you want them to make a speech at your event, issue a Welcoming Proclamation, or introduce a certain piece of legislation? Make sure to include a deadline for response and contact information.

4. Personalize Your Message: Use our Welcoming Week messaging from our toolkit to start crafting your message, but make sure to personalize your invitation by explaining how the official’s participation will not only benefit your organization but also the official and their constituents, especially if they are up for reelection this year. Make it clear why you want their participation specifically. If you need an example, check out this sample invitation from America Bikes. 

5. Follow Up: Begin your correspondence through an electronic or a physical invitation,then follow up with a phone call to the official’s scheduler. If your invitation is accepted, be sure to work with the appropriate staff member to keep the official informed of the event, provide any relevant materials, and guide messaging if needed. After the event, thank the official with a personal note or card, photos, feedback, stories, and potential next steps.

6. Leverage Your Relationships: If someone in your organization has a pre-existing relationship with an elected official or one of their staff members, or your organization has worked with certain officials in the past, leverage those relationships. An official or staff member is much more likely to accept your invitation if they know who you are and have had a positive experience with your organization in the past. 

Sources: 
RDW Group
National Council on Aging