You made it through holiday party season with all of the fundraisers, calorie-packed hors d’oeuvres, and open bars. Now we are in the midst of conference season and the thicket of networking receptions, meet and greets, and lunch and learns. Events are a staple of the advocacy industry where PAC, grassroots, direct lobbying, communications, media, and government collide to collaborate informally on the process of creating public policy and to make connections in order to facilitate this process in a smoother way. Conferences or large-scale events can be cumbersome to put on, costly to attend, and difficult to navigate for first-time attendees.
Archives: Advocacy in Action
Here’s how Bass Anglers for Saltwater Conservation sent 4,335 letters to the U.S. Senate by offering a cool (literally!) prize.
The result? A huge uptick in brand new advocates – and almost a full quarter increase in their advocacy base.
And they did it when no major legislation was happening.
By the end of 2015, $1billion had been spent on advocacy involving the Affordable Care Act. Now, it’s about to happen all over again.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock these past couple of weeks, you’ll be aware the largest legislative repeal of the decade – possibly ever – is about to take place with the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act.
Here’s what’s happening right now
Early Thursday morning, Senators voted 51-48 to adopt the budget resolution that sets up the repeal of the health care law through the budget reconciliation process.
With that comes a game-changing field for advocacy, and the thousands of insurance, service, employer and healthcare-related associations, corporations and organizations directly or indirectly affected by it.
With the new 115th Congress come 52 freshman house members, seven new senators, copious leadership and committee changes – not to mention hundreds of new staffers.
And that’s just in Congress. In the states you’ve got even more new members taking their places at state legislatures where for many organizations the real action is happening.
Those changes mean advocacy organizations have to scramble for attention and start the process of educating on their issues all over again.
But how do you stand out from the fray and make sure that you and your message are communicated to the right people in their new roles?
How Trinity Health Sent 3,000 Letters to Local Legislators in 3 Days … and Changed an Important Vote
Here’s how Trinity Health got legislation halted in 72 hours using just 90 advocates.
They did it by asking their employees in one local hospital to write to the county officials.
And they needed less than 100 employees to take action. Over one weekend.
The result? They got an important local county vote in Albany, New York changed. Plus, their campaign was so effective it got mentioned by one of the legislators at the public hearing.
Now’s the time of year you should be getting your 2017 policy agenda in place, deciding what you’re going to prioritize, and what you’ll leave on the back burner. But many government relations departments decide what they’ll fight or support every year, with little or no input from the people that matter most – their supporters.
Putting a good annual policy agenda in place should include a healthy contribution from your advocates, clients, donors or members, and sometimes it’s as easy as just asking them.
Three days after Donald Trump’s unexpected election victory upended all projections, Rich Gold was still reeling. The tide-turning shocker had left him, admittedly, feeling adrift.
“I’m Brody in the closing scene of ‘Jaws,’ clinging to the wreckage, and Hooper comes to the surface and asks, ‘Quint?’ and Brody just says, ‘No.’
“My Quint just got eaten, and I’m clinging to the wreckage,” Gold said.
But finding opportunity in upheaval is “what I do for a living,” he adds. “We’re already policy-gaming – we had a different outcome, so we’ve got a different set of strategies,” says the leader of 90-person Holland & Knight’s Public Policy & Regulation Group in Washington, D.C.
It’s that time in the election cycle when staffers and campaigners are taking up new jobs. For those moving to grassroots advocacy, here’s some tips from a seasoned pro for your first 30 days on the job.
You left the Hill and landed your first government relations job in grassroots advocacy, or maybe you’ve seized the opportunity to work at the intersection of lobbying and communications. Irrespective of how you got a job in grassroots advocacy, the first 30 days can be intimidating and overwhelming with the volume of information you have to consume.
Every organization has different expectations, responsibilities, technology assets, processes, layers of approval, strengths, and challenges, and a step-by-step guide on how to approach a grassroots job doesn’t exist.
Grassroots is a fluid profession where you need to develop and maintain relationships to compel people to action. One of the most valuable resources for navigating the profession is the experience of other grassroots pros that have tried different techniques that have succeeded and failed.
While the below isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success for the first 30 days of running a grassroots program, there are a few time-tested tips and tricks that could get you started as you delve into your role in grassroots advocacy:
Telling your story well is the essence of advocacy, according winners of the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) annual ‘Power of A’ awards.
This year’s winners were honored for their success in enriching lives; creating a competitive workforce; preparing for the future; innovating; and making a better world. And all of it done through advocacy. We tapped their collective wisdom for tips.
Whether you call them Hill Days, Lobby Days or Fly-ins, gathering your group in Washington, D.C. to meet members of Congress is still one of the most powerful tools in your advocacy arsenal.
A well-organized event can help you draw attention to an issue, establish and strengthen relationships with policymakers, generate a feelgood factor for membership, and ultimately, move the needle on your organization’s legislative priorities.
But pulling off a great Hill Day that attendees will be talking about for months to come is no easy task. There’s an incredible amount of planning and moving parts to organize.
Read on to see how you can nail it.