Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Getting serious about metrics: Be Incredible. Focus on Quality not just Easy.

Getting serious about metrics: Be Incredible. Focus on Quality not just Easy.

By Chip Felkel

Recently I was sitting in a theater with my family watching the new release, “The Incredibles 2”. A line from the movie’s villain, Evelyn Deavor, is this, “Ease. They will trade quality for ease every time.” Of course, this villain (note: the bad guy here) is correct in her assessment about society generally and while she wasn’t referring to public affairs and advocacy, she certainly could be. But the truth is, good, successful, impactful advocacy can be much easier than we seem to think. Yes, it takes some work. It’s not as simple as hitting send, and it takes some common sense and a willingness to stop taking victory laps for activities that do very little but create lots and lots of noise.

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CMF Research Webinar: Are Grassroots Emails to Congress Effective Anymore?

Join CMF and RAP Index in a discussion about making the transition from “reach metrics” to relationship-based or impact metrics. This presentation will encompass more than a decade of research CMF has conducted on communicating with Congress.

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Metrics that Matter: Measuring Quality Grassroots Engagement

By Amy Showalter

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, when concurring with the majority opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio tried to define what constitutes obscenity: “. . . . I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it . . . “

I often think of that statement when defining quality grassroots engagement, as almost every advocacy professional knows it when they see it. It’s a high bar, because the cacophony of voter sentiment is abundant and intense. And virtually every grassroots professional I have advised or observed admits that quality is what matters most for their grassroots development, and they want more involvement from quality advocates.

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