Advocacy Days

Reason Rally’s Advocacy Days bring your citizen’s voice to the halls of Congress, so you can urge your legislators to Speak Up for Reason!

  • Learn how to talk to your representatives about our issues and shape public policy

  • Meet with lawmakers and their staff

  • Network with like-minded secular citizens

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn the skills to make your secular voice heard at the federal level. We’re scheduling visits with every single one of the 535 Congressional offices – so we need you!

From Alaska to Alabama, Massachusetts to Mississippi, we need a secular American from every congressional district in the country so no member of Congress can ever say to us again “Sure, there are atheists in America, but none in my district.”

In-person lobbying from constituents is still the most effective method for reaching elected officials. Because there is not a single openly nontheistic member of Congress, we need secular and nonreligious people to speak up and tell their elected officials that they are paying attention to the issues and voting. Only by participating in the system can we hope to change it.

The Reason Rally’s Advocacy Days are presented by the Secular Coalition for America.

Thursday, June 2 (Senate) & Friday, June 3 (House)

8 am – 9 am: Registration Opens

Check in and get your badge, goody bag, and all the materials and information you’ll need for your lobby visits on the Hill.

9 am – 11:30 am: Advocacy & Issues Training

Get prepared and fired up to lobby your representatives on Capitol Hill. We’ll have presentations from expert lobbyists, secular leaders, coalition partners, and experts on our lobbying issue: evidence-based sex ed funding.

11:30 am – 1 pm: Lunch on Capitol Hill

No one wants to lobby on an empty stomach! We’ll lead the way to Capitol Hill and show you where you can get an affordable lunch in the Senate and House office buildings before your lobby meetings!

1 pm – 5 pm: Lobby Visits on Capitol Hill

Your Group Leader will personally walk you to your appointments on Capitol Hill, where you will meet with members of Congress or their staffs to discuss your concerns as a secular constituent. Your specific meeting times will be determined based on your district; a personalized schedule will be provided to you at registration.

General FAQ

When are the Reason Rally Advocacy Days?

The Reason Rally Advocacy Days will be held on Wednesday, June 2 and Thursday, June 3, 2016 – the two days leading up to Reason Rally 2016.

Who may attend the Advocacy Day?

The Reason Rally Coalition welcomes all secular and nonreligious Americans, as well as religious allies who support our mission. You may come by yourself and meet others from your home area, who you will be grouped with for your lobby visits. Families and groups are also welcome. Teens and other young adults are highly encouraged to attend and make their voices heard. We ask that those under 17 note their age on the registration form and also the name of an adult 18 or older who will accompany them during the advocacy day. More than one teen 17 and under may attend under the supervision of an adult 18 or over. For questions about teens and children attending, please email AdvocacyDay@reasonrally.org.

What will the Advocacy Days include?

Included in the registration is participation on either Advocacy Day. This includes: a lobbying training session, materials, and scheduled meetings with Congressional offices. The training will include instructions on general lobbying and on the specific topics of the afternoon lobbying visits to Congressional offices.

Can I come for just one day?

Yes! You are welcome to attend either one or both Advocacy Days. Training will be provided on both days.

How much does the Advocacy Day cost?

Early Bird registration for the Reason Rally Advocacy Day is $20 per person for one day, or $35 for both days. Students may receive a discounted rate using coupon codes upon request from the Secular Student Alliance and Center for Inquiry. Rates will go up on April 8, 2016.

Registration includes:

  • Lobby training from professional lobbyists
  • Congressional meetings scheduled on your behalf
  • Printed materials and resources to bring to congressional meetings
  • Networking opportunities with secular activists and more
Where will the Advocacy Day be held?

The Reason Rally Advocacy Days will be held at the Washington Court Hotel near Capitol Hill, 525 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001. We have secured a discounted room rate for Advocacy Day attendees starting at $149 a night. The final date to register a room at the discounted rate is Thursday, May 12, 2016. To secure your discounted room, use this link and be sure to use Group Code “REASON0616” when you search.

When does registration close for Advocacy Days?

The final day to register for the Reason Rally Advocacy Days is Wednesday, May 18, 2015.

Lobbying FAQ

What is an “Advocacy Day”?

Advocacy Day, also called a “lobby day,” is when a group of people, united by a cause, legislation, or identity, visit many lawmakers’ offices en masse on one day to show their strength, commitment, and voting concerns.

Will I actually get to meet my Representative or Senator?

If you sign up to attend, we will do our best to secure a meeting with the staff of your legislators if the legislators are not available to meet with you directly. Staff are often the issue experts and legislators rely on their input.

Can I choose the issue I lobby on?

For your voice to have the largest impact we recommend lobbying on issues Congress is currently debating. We pre-select the most timely issues for which we will prepare lobbying materials and handouts. At the Reason Rally Advocacy Day, we’ll be lobbying on the issue of evidence-based sex education.

What if I have never lobbied before?

No problem! Professional lobbyist staff of Reason Rally Coalition sponsor organizations will teach you everything you need to know in order to lobby in the afternoon. Because you will be lobbying in teams, you can be active (by taking a speaking role) or be more supportive (by taking a listening role) in the lobbying. We want you to enjoy the experience. It is important that you participate at a level you are comfortable with!

What do I wear to lobby?

We ask that everyone dress business casual, which means nice pants, shirts, and shoes for the gentlemen. For the ladies, nice pants or skirts with blouses or nice shirts, or a nice dress. For everyone: no open-toe shoes, flip-flops, or crocs; no baseball hats; no jeans; and no T-shirts. You will be walking from office to office on foot – make sure your shoes are comfortable!

Do I have to attend the training if I have attended other lobby trainings?

Yes, we do ask that everyone who is attending the Advocacy Day attend the training in the morning. We will be training everyone on the specifics of the topics that we would like you to raise during the Congressional visits. We need to make sure that we are all carrying the same message.

If you have previous lobbying experience, you can assist those who are new to lobbying and take a more active role in the Congressional meetings.

If I come for both days, can I skip the training on the second day?

Trying to sleep in? You can, but you probably won’t want to! We’ll be providing a special training section on Friday morning for those who were in the Thursday morning session, where you can learn ways to take your lobbying skills home to apply at the state and local levels.

If you decide you’d rather sleep in on Friday, we ask that you join us in time to walk to Capitol Hill for lunch. This gives you an opportunity to get to know your lobbying group for the day and allows us to make any last-minute schedule adjustments if necessary.