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ICYMI: One-third of Employees Have High Activist Potential

April 16, 2014

A recently-announced study by Weber Shandwick has put concrete numbers to a trend advocacy professionals have been aware of (and a driving force behind) for years: employee activists. The study also highlights the challenges every organization must be aware of in order to capitalize on the opportunity the trend presents.

According to the study, "more than one in five (21%) staffers are 'employee activists' - workers who publicly defend and advocate for employers - while one-third (33%) have high employee-activist potential." The study also found that:

Recruit, Educate, Mobilize...Research & Develop

April 10, 2014

In many ways, legislative advocacy has the distinction of being a growing, emerging portion of modern government affairs programs. In other ways, it is less emerging/establishing trend and more safe, stodgy, "same-old thing we did last time."

The cause of the paradox is easy enough to understand: the legislative process that establishes the parameters for successful outreach efforts is fairly stable and major changes to the process are rare. When you combine this with the fact that grassroots/grasstops programs are often understaffed, you have the perfect recipe for the "what we did last time should be fine" mindset to develop.

While the legislative process is indeed quite predictable, the ways in which we communicate with electeds, their staff and our stakeholders continues to experience regular upheaval as communications technologies continue to explode all around us.

Nailing The Constituent Meeting

April 2, 2014

When it comes to grasstops/grassroots legislative advocacy few things posses the potential to impact like an in-office constituent meeting.

Unlike emails, intercepts or even phone calls, in-office meetings between stakeholders and elected officials and/or their staff provide a window of uninterrupted time dedicated specifically to the issue at hand. Opportunities to deliver a clearer, more compelling message advocating your organization's position are few and far between.

Unfortunately, the realities of modern advocacy are such that much of the potential these meetings posses gets lost in the frenzy of logistics, recruitment and educational activities that typically surround them. Like anything, the majority of the potential impact of a constituent meeting is captured or squandered in the preparation.

Taking Your Advocacy Offline

March 25, 2014

Communication technologies have given great efficiency to mass communications. When it comes to advocacy however, the freedom to communicate so widely, so easily, has become a limitation in itself.

As email and social innovations were just being formally introduced to the legislative advocacy process, there was an advantage to be had in delivering impressively large numbers of messages to legislators. As trickle turned to deluge, quantity-driven advantages turned liability as legislative offices became frustrated.

When It Comes to Credibility, Stories > Numbers

March 14, 2014

"The story."

It has become an integral part of every State of the Union address in recent history. At some point,  highlighting an important policy or new initiative , the "most powerful person in the free world" will take a moment to divert attention away from their bully pulpit to a person or people in the balcony.

We are all familiar with what happens next - the President takes a moment to tell us the personal story of the invited guest.

Relationships and the delivery of advocacy messages are central facets of the legislative process but the stories constituents communicate are the fuel that determines the power/effectiveness those messages hold.

When Timely Information Is Critical

March 7, 2014

Much focus is put on the ability of advocacy organizations to deliver credible communications to key elected officials but this is only one facet of the program's critical function.

As a two-way street, the information the organization collects and provides to its members is, in some cases, even more important than its counterpart.

Take Wednesday's announcement of a 2-year extension for non-compliant health insurance plans as a great example. For months, employers across the nation have ben scrambling and fretting as they weave and wend their way through 20, 000 pages of rules and clarifications. With a high cost of failure in the form of potentially devastating penalties for getting it wrong,  employers are relying on the organizations they belong to like never before.

This One Thing Will Change Your Lobby Days

February 28, 2014

Let's make this clear up front: communication from an elected official's constituents is hands down the most effective form of advocacy. This has been supported by any study ever done on the subject. Besides that, it just makes sense given the electoral nature of our political system.

By logical extension, when organization's build their lobby days tremendous effort is put into finding advocates willing to participate and getting them set up and prepared to meet their elected representatives. And so it is.

The logic and message is crystal clear: "I live in your district and vote. These issues are important to my friends and I (see how many of us there are?). You should pay attention."

ICYMI: Three Key Advocacy Trends in 2014

February 25, 2014

Epolitics.com's Colin Delaney recently posted Three Key Online Advocacy Trends to Watch in 2014. 

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