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Advocacy365: Hosting a Candidate Coffee
By Amanda Stratton, Manager, Grassroots & Advocacy Outreach
Earlier in the week, we showed you how you how easy it can be to schedule an in-district meeting with in your legislator’s office. But what if you want to organize a meeting with a candidate for office? Luckily, AIA Advocacy has provided the tools you need to make that happen!
Candidates for office, both incumbent and challenging, are often too busy on the campaign trail to meet with constituents in their designated office. Their goal is to be out in the community connecting with voters and potential supporters. While they can get broad message out to the public through direct mail and media, candidates are always looking for venues to engage with voters in a more direct and personal way. You can provide them with that venue AND make a difference for the AIA by hosting a candidate coffee!
In general, a ‘candidate coffee’ refers to a private event hosted by an individual, small group or organization that allows a candidate to meet a small, select group of voters in an informal and personal setting. There are several different variations on the candidate coffee concept. For example, some coffees are specifically aimed at bringing together supporters and potential funders or volunteers for a single candidate. Other coffee events imply no endorsement of a candidate and offer just a forum for getting to know the candidate. Coffees can be organized by motivated individuals without specific reference to any group or organization or they can be hosted directly by an association, civic organization or interest group.
Many of the scheduling logistics that come with scheduling an in-district meeting also apply to setting up a candidate coffee. However, since you are the host, each type of coffee brings its own set of organization and logistical challenges, as well as protocols for hosts, guests, and candidates. To help you navigate these challenges, AIA Advocacy has developed a toolkit on hosting these types of event. This toolkit discusses the basic types of candidate coffees, provides guidance on organizing and hosting these events, and offers suggestions for maximizing your impact and the effectiveness of your event.
Click here to access the toolkit and get started on hosting your own candidate coffee, and stay tuned to the Issues & Advocacy page for more ways you can advocate for the AIA 365 days a year!
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