Category Archives: Uncategorized

Time to take….the advocacy road less traveled

For a lot of groups tasked with advocacy right now there is a bit of a “deer in the headlights” thing going on in terms of what to do. I mean how can you push your issues when Congress isn’t meeting, staffs are working from home and states have varying degrees of social distancing restrictions? Thirty years as an advocacy professional tells me that there is always opportunity during crisis, you just must think a little differently than perhaps you are accustomed. And recognize the groundwork you put in, despite the challenge, will go a long way in terms of your effectiveness when we see a more normal environment.

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Kristen Prather, state director of grassroots programs at CUNA recently had an article in Campaigns & Elections with great tips on how to build an effective state advocacy program for national organizations. As she notes:

“Though these basic activities form the backbone of any successful state advocacy presence, there are even more beneficial/advanced activities for state-level advocacy. Organizations should always look for ways to better understand their members. A good way to do this is through surveys of membership looking at demographics, key issues to members, and determining if members know any elected officials and how they’re connected to them…

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Beware of Form Email Purgatory

Great minds think alike. It’s an old saying and usually offered in agreement with something you have just read or heard. That’s exactly the case when I read a recent post from the Congressional Management Foundation’s Seth Turner…

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No Big Budget? No Problem. How Key Contacts Level the Playing Field

By Chip Felkel

Today’s advocacy environment is a noisy one. It’s hard for organizations to make their policy case with competing voices jamming the phones, crowding the digital space with ads, and crashing servers with click and send emails that begin and end the same, and according to well respected groups like the Congressional Management Foundation, have little or no true effect. You can certainly attempt to measure these efforts in terms of reach metrics, but let’s be honest: If you lose the issue, does it really matter that you got 542 retweets, sent 31,347 emails, or 468 letters? Maybe it makes you feel good. Maybe it makes your board feel okay, not happy but okay. But at some point, getting close just isn’t going to be enough, for you, for your boss or the board. What is it they say about horseshoes and hand grenades? Digital ads are expensive. Massive email and letter writing efforts can get expensive and might create some awareness but do little more than that. It’s a simple fact. And with all the changes expected from the mid-term elections, (1 in 6 in Congress, alone) organizations are going to have to find a way not only to advocate, but to educate a host of new elected officials, and fast. Hint: pre-existing relationships can go a long, long way here.

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Big Change is a’coming to Congress: How to be ready.

By Roger Rickard, RAP Index Consultant

Are you ready for a new Congress? One is coming.

There will be a new a speaker no matter which party controls the house, as Paul Ryan is leaving Congress. There will be new committee chairs and ranking members. There will be new committee assignments. There will also be new congressional staff.

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