Day of Action: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Day of Action?

The Day of Action is The Planetary Society's premier global advocacy event. We provide opportunities to meet with their congressional offices to advocate for our three core enterprises: planetary exploration, planetary defense, and the search for life.

The event takes place in Washington, D.C. The Planetary Society books the meetings, provides training and talking points, and otherwise helps ensure a successful and rewarding experience for its participating members.

Does it cost money to register?

Yes. Our registration fee helps offset a portion of the administrative costs associated with the in-person Day of Action. This includes booking your meetings, securing meeting and event spaces, and purchasing related software licenses. We offer discounted rates for students and for early registrations.

If you cannot or prefer not to pay a registration fee, you can pledge to take online actions instead.

What's the difference between "registering" and "pledging to take online actions"?

Registration is for the full in-person Day of Action experience: a day of direct advocacy, face-to-face with congressional staff and lawmakers. In addition to the meetings, you will need to participate in a 3-hour training session on the Sunday before the Day of Action to meet your teammates, practice your talking points, and otherwise prepare for your meetings. Registration requires a small fee and is available to U.S. residents only.

Pledging to take online action is free and available to anyone in the world. By pledging, you commit to taking some form of individual advocacy action on the Day of Action. We will email you with a number of opportunities that can be done on your own schedule, including social media posts, prompts to call Congress (if you live in the United States), and online petitions and messages. We will email you updates and background information before the Day of Action itself; no prior training is required.

Pledging to take individual actions is free.

What is the time commitment to participate?

For the in-person D.C. experience, you should expect to engage in 3 - 7 meetings spaced out throughout the day. Meetings can occur as early as 9am and finish as late as 5:30pm. Many people take the day off of work to accommodate this, or otherwise maintain a flexible schedule to ensure they can attend every meeting. In addition, the Sunday afternoon prior to the Day of Action is for a mandatory training session. Expect to spend a few hours before the training reviewing materials and preparing for your meetings in the months prior to the Day of Action itself.

For people pledging to take individual actions, expect to spend less than an hour on our activities, which can be done at your discretion.

What's it like?

The most common experience of our participants is exhilaration. It's rewarding and fun to share your passion with the people who can make a positive difference in the future of space exploration.

Your schedule is provided via a custom web portal that provides meeting context, and participant information. We maintain a special chat system only for participants during the day so you can chat and share your success stories with other Society members and staff. We also provide special events like exclusive mission briefings by leaders in the scientific community and NASA.

But don't take our word for it, you can read advocate testimonials.

Do I need to be a space expert or an experienced space advocate?

No! You have a right to express your views to your political representatives regardless of your background or occupation. If you love space, you can tell your lawmaker that you'd like them to prioritize investments in space. Simple as that.

That said, we offer pathways to deepen your knowledge before the Day of Action with background materials and our free online course, Space Advocacy 101. We also provide training and opportunities to practice before your meetings so that you can effectively advocate for space.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen?

You must be a U.S. resident to register for the full Day of Action. Individuals living outside the United States may pledge to take action in support of our advocacy activities.

What will I be advocating for?

We focus on issues related to The Planetary Society's three core enterprises: planetary exploration (both human and robotic), planetary defense, and the search for life. We always include detailed proposals for NASA funding and specific missions related to those key areas.

Will I meet directly with my member of Congress?

Sometimes. We always attempt to schedule an in-person meeting with your lawmaker, but due to scheduling complexities, you will generally meet with a high-level staff member in their Washington, D.C. office.

Where do I stay in Washington, D.C.? How do I get around?

We have a page of recommendations for accommodations and travel tips for Washington, D.C.

Is it effective?

Yes. Research by the Congressional Management Foundation shows that, for non-partisan issues like space exploration, in-person constituent advocacy has the highest impact on the decision process for lawmakers:

Constituent Influence on Congressional Offices
Constituent Influence on Congressional Offices Source: Communicating with Congress Perceptions of Citizen Advocacy on Capitol Hill.Image: Congressional Management Foundation

The Day of Action

The Day of Action brings together The Planetary Society members and members of Congress during this premier space advocacy event.