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Deep Dive Breakout 2: The Future of Fly-Ins

October 27 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual engagement with Congress, in some form, is here to stay. Our panelists will discuss what worked and what didn’t – and how we can apply these lessons to future fly-ins. We will also explore how virtual tools may help us with pre- and post-fly-in engagement.


Learning Objectives:

– How do you make a hybrid or virtual event impactful?
– Share tips for virtual meetings with legislators.
– What virtual elements will become permanent fixtures of your program?
– How will pre- and post-fly-in engagement be changed?


Speakers: Rachel Feinstein (Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association), Sarah Weissman (The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research), Lauren Cantrell (Habitat for Humanity), Kelly Memphis (Public Affairs Council)

  • Overview
    • Virtual required more training than ever!
    • Hybrid/virtual fly-ins are not cheaper or easier to plan than in-person – they might actually be harder and less cost-effective

o   Invest on a tool/platform for (ex: 6Connex)

  • Have a central place for meeting documents, staff information, tech support, who people are meeting with, etc. 
  • Spread virtual meetings into a couple of days instead of an all-day event – it will help you and your advocates be less exhausted
  • Survey your advocates and get a sense of when they will feel comfortable meeting in person. 
    • For Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association survey, they mentioned that they won’t feel comfortable until after the 2022 election 
  • Keep different timezones in mind while planning a hybrid event
  • The preparation of your advocates is key and keep in mind that some people are more visual learners than others so make your training inclusive
    • Remind them of the standard Zoom etiquettes
  • KISS= keep.it.simple.stupid.
  • Zoom fatigue is real especially for all-day events
  • If you have the budget, hiring a logistics team to help set up meetings and zoom links and scheduling is a MOST


  • Learning Objective: How to make a hybrid or virtual event impactful?
    • Recognize that you might need to cut the cost of a virtual fly-in (virtual vs in-person) 
      • Habitat for Humanity offered scholarships and cut costs significantly while still keeping it competitive (over $100). 
    • Hybrid fly-ins were able to accommodate more rural area advocates into the mix while in-person events are more expensive and complicated logistically for them.
    • Breakout into state groups for advocates to connect with their state legislators
    • Plan on networking events or social hours for advocates to connect (this is something advocates miss a lot from in-person fly-ins)
      • Don’t expect a lot of people to show up but create that space for them.
    • Provide virtual branded backgrounds for participants
    • Ask advocates to write up a real-life example of how a particular policy helps them and their customers 
    • The application process for attendees is useful for scheduling, planning, identifying time commitment 
    • For hybrid events, provide swag for in-person participants (in a mug or bag)
    • Simply your advocacy asks – focus on ONE issue to make it easier to train advocates and get staffers/members attention
    • You can’t control everything!!!!!
    • Make advocate training mandatory for all participants
      • Use a tool to track who is watching or reading your training materials and how long they’ve spent reviewing it
    • Issue flexing – divide your training sessions depending on issue knowledge 
    • Create a simple brand for your event emails so they stand out in advocates inbox 


  •       Learning objectives: Share tips for virtual meetings for legislators 
  • Use an ‘Event Hub’ to stay organized 
    • Have a central place for meeting documents, staff information, tech support, who people are meeting with, etc 
  • Collect shareable moments  – ask permission to take ‘group picture’ with MOC on Zoom to share on social media 
  • Collect feedback surveys right after the event ended 
    • Advocates have different meetings so send a feedback survey after each individual meeting for higher responsiveness  
  • Virtual fly-in had more success when it came to MOC availability  
  • Set expectations on camera vs no camera meeting 
    • Make sure advocates don’t take calls from cars 
  • Advocates like to be in the loop – for example, create a google doc to share Hill schedules with participants from the same state representatives (not too much detail since you don’t want other advocates jumping on scheduled calls)
  • Recommendation: Three designated speakers and one moderator per Hill meeting 
  • Virtual worked on our favor because Hill meetings were more structured to the pre-defined agenda 
  • Emphasize how similar virtual and in-person Hill meeting structure is – they both should have a professional and organized tone.


  • Learning Objectives: What virtual components will become permanent for future fly ins
    • Be mindful of technology limitations in more rural areas
    • Increase in site visits with State legislators (Republicans especially!) 
    • More success on feedback forms because you can follow up through the platform/tool.
    • Because of the high level of training for virtual fly-ins, advocates felt more prepared (even the seasoned advocates)


  • Learning Objectives: How will pre and post-planning change moving forward? 
    • More hybrid features 
    • More networking opportunities in a virtual environment 
    • Increased focus on state/local policy and advocacy
    • More interaction in the session 
    • More advocate training since we saw a huge benefit 



October 27
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:
http://www.buzzadvocacy.org/ The-future-of-Fly-Ins/