The July-August issue looks at partisanship in legislatures, renovating capitols, pay for lawmakers, the challenging job of chief of staff, the costs of legislation and much more.
The NCSL Statehouse Ambassadors are legislative staff who serve as in-state field representatives for NCSL. The Statehouse Ambassador program is designed to energize and sustain legislative participation in NCSL and strengthen the organization’s role as an extension of state legislatures. The program enhances NCSL’s reputation among legislative staff as the organization of choice for quality policy research and professional development programs.
The goals of the program are to:
Improve NCSL’s outreach to legislative staff by developing and maintaining accurate legislative staff data
Increase legislative staff participation in NCSL’s standing committees, staff sections, and professional development seminars
Support NCSL’s marketing and outreach programs for legislators and legislative staff.
Statehouse Ambassadors work closely with the NCSL staff who are assigned as liaisons (“NCSL state assignment staff”) to each legislature. Following are descriptions of the responsibilities of the Ambassadors and the NCSL state assignment staff.
Maintain accurate staff data. At least once a year, Statehouse Ambassadors should update NCSL’s existing legislative staff mailing list by deleting staff who have left the legislature, updating office and address information and adding names of staff who are not currently on the list. When new staff are hired, Ambassadors are responsible for providing NCSL with information about them. Specific instructions for correcting NCSL’s legislative staff information are contained in Updating Staff Mailing Lists. Work out the timing of the mailing list update process to fit your workload with your NCSL state assignment staff.
Serve as “Welcome Wagon” to newly hired staff. Early contact with newly hired staff increases the likelihood that they will choose NCSL as their primary research and professional development organization. As soon as you learn of new hires, modify the Sample Welcome E-mail for new staff to suit your state’s circumstances and send it to them. Follow the e-mail message up with a personal visit within two weeks to introduce yourself as an Ambassador. Direct them to NCSL’s web site, let them know about relevant staff sections or standing committees, and answer any questions they might have. Don’t forget to add them to NCSL’s mailing list!
Support NCSL’s marketing and outreach efforts. Get to know your NCSL state assignment staff and assist and advise them in reaching out to legislators and legislative staff. Communicate with them regularly and let them know about new developments in your legislature. They will inform you of NCSL marketing and outreach programs and ask for your assistance, as appropriate, in carrying them out.
Recruit Statehouse Ambassador(s). State assignment staff are responsible for recruiting Ambassadors in their states. How many Ambassadors does a state need? The answer is as few as possible, but enough to get the job done. The number will vary from state to state based on the size and structure of the legislative staff and the roles of partisan and nonpartisan staff. Strong Ambassadors will be self-starters, energetic, and detail-oriented, experienced and familiar with NCSL and supported by legislative leadership or management.
Provide support and resources for Statehouse Ambassadors. Get to know your Ambassadors personally. Review the responsibilities and resources available on the Statehouse Ambassador Web Page with them and discuss any adaptations that may need to be made to state-specific circumstances.
Initiate the legislative staff mailing list process for your state at least once a year. Specific instructions for this process are contained in Updating Staff Mailing Lists. The timing should be as agreed upon with your Ambassadors.
Maintain regular contact with the Statehouse Ambassadors. Contact them regularly to see how things are going and to offer assistance. Support and encourage the work of your Statehouse Ambassadors. Involve them in NCSL outreach and marketing programs to the legislature as a whole, as appropriate to their positions and responsibilities.
Contact newly hired staff. As you learn of new staff from your Ambassadors, contact them yourself via telephone or e-mail. Introduce yourself and explain the role of state assignment staff. Answer any questions they might have and encourage them to participate in NCSL and use its resources. Provide information about new staff to staff section leaders or liaisons.
Guidelines developed August 15, 2006
file posted September 19, 2006
updated June 23, 2010
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