One of the best ways of doing it is through sustained, authentic and authoritative content that gets dispersed through multiple channels. But to do it you need to switch your government relations hat for your marketing one, and put yourself in your readers’, viewers’ and ultimately advocates’ shoes.
And you need a strategic plan – otherwise known as the content calendar.
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 to 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.
The very first implement of choice in that work bag has to be the state legislative calendar with the 2017 adjourn and convene dates.
You can download the calendar with all 50 states and Washington, D.C. here.
Print it out and put it somewhere handy on your desk.
Do you use it for research? How about for advocacy, conferences, coalitions, networking or education?
Most of us don’t even scratch the surface of possibilities when it comes to utilizing our memberships. Learn how you can change all that by making the most of your trade association membership when it comes to advocacy and lobbying.
Blake Major, Manager, Federal Government Affairs at AIG, and Joshua Habursky, Director of Advocacy at the Independent Community Bankers of America share tips and tricks on how to do it.
We all know Congress takes time off. They’re roughly in session for 36 weeks a year. But, for most states, the period of lawmaking is far more condensed and usually far more intense.
That means if you’re restricting your influence to when the states are in session, you’re severely limiting your advocacy.
During the 2015-16 biennial session, the states were 17 times more productive than Congress.
And we didn’t just pluck that number out of thin air for dramatic effect.
The states approved nearly 29,122 of the approximately 171,608 bills introduced. Compare that to Congress who introduced 10,916 bills and resolutions – and passed only 199 of them.
That’s a lot of bills distilled into what for some states can be just a two-month (or less) session. So, logic would follow that by the time state lawmakers get themselves to the state capitol, and become acquainted with the issues, it’s already too late to impact their legislation.
If you want to get ahead of what their doing, you need to start conditioning them long before they get to the statehouses for actual sessions.
That’s why now is prime advocacy season for state legislation.
Here’s How To Go About It
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.
How SPPAN Went From Tracking A Few State Issues A Year, To Monitoring 1,900 – And Changing The Rules In Several States
Here’s how one organization (for whom policymaking is currently on fire in the states) moved from managing a handful of pieces of legislation at state level four years ago, to keeping on top of 1,400 different bills and 500 regulations, in all 50 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Without missing anything of importance.
And it’s all done by ONE policy director.
Katie Duensing is the assistant director for legislative and regulatory affairs at the Academy of Integrative Pain Management.
Like many busy policy directors, a huge part of her job is juggling federal and state tracking for which she has CQ’s StateTrack to see what’s going on with her issue.
But four years ago pain management, and patient access to it, wasn’t yet treated as a legislative and regulatory issue of top priority in the states.
Then came awareness of the opioid crisis.
Your grassroots and PAC endeavors probably have the same goal: Getting members focused and engaged. But chances are both efforts are siloed? Or not exactly on the same page with messaging and outreach?
See how you can change all that with a few handy tips and tricks. Watch our webinar recording above, now!
If associations aren’t careful, they’ll follow the same path Eastman Kodak Company’s film business took, warns Shira Harrington, chief engagement officer of Purposeful Hire and an association recruitment expert.
Kodak knew photography was moving to digital formats, even building one of the first digital cameras in 1975, but the company was slow to transform its business which accounted for 90 percent of film sales in the 1990s.
Likewise the value proposition for association membership has changed over the past 10 years as millennials have become a larger part of the workforce – and a larger percentage of the association target audience, points out Harrington. “If associations don’t change their current business models to attract and engage them, they will be defunct in 10 years as existing members retire,” she warns.
Here are 12 strategic steps association leaders can take to recruit, engage, retain and develop younger members, to prepare the association not just for survival, but also for success.