A School’s Guide for Hosting Elected Officials
Inviting elected officials to visit your charter school is a great way to build a relationship with your elected or key government officials. These officials could include the Mayor, Deputy Mayors, Councilmembers, members of the Board of Education, ANC Commissioners, Metro Police District Commanders, etc.
By inviting them to your charter school and establishing a relationship with them, your elected officials will already know you, your work, and be familiar with the issues that are important to you. When the time comes that you do need their assistance, you will already have a connection and they are more likely to be responsive.
Before the Visit
- Invite your lawmakers with a personal invitation.
- Have a staff member, maybe the constituent service staffer, visit your school prior to review the positive aspects of the school’s presence in the neighborhood and challenges that your school faces.
- Once your event is confirmed, provide the elected official’s staff with a detailed agenda of the day’s events and participants. Generally, you can expect the visit to last about an hour. Build in some time for the elected official to ask questions. You may want to send a fact sheet about your school, or share other promotional materials to help the elected official prepare for the visit.
- Also, consider sending out a media advisory asking your local reporters to cover the event. It might be a good idea to coordinate with your lawmaker’s staff. Anticipate that any media in attendance will bring a photographer and prepare your list of students with or without signed photo releases
During the Visit
- Invite some students to greet the elected official with a fun sign or a song at the entrance and be ready to go on time.
- Each elected official is likely to bring one or two staff members with them for the visit. Prepare your staff and students to expect some new faces during the day.
- A good idea is to have a staff member available to take pictures and post on social media. Many elected officials are active on Facebook and Twitter and will appreciate your outreach.
After the Visit
- Send a thank you note to your elected official.
- Handmade thank you notes from students, sent or delivered to the lawmaker’s office, are a nice touch!
- Cultivate your relationship by staying in contact with your elected officials.
- Remember to follow up by continuing to invite them to events at your school or to include their staff on your newsletter. Don’t hesitate to brag a little! Elected officials are always looking for talking points about great things happening in their communities and they often share this information in speeches and interviews.