Your government affairs strategy

Is it time to identify new ways to better advocate for your organization’s interests? Perhaps we should start by looking at what elements make for a successful Government Affairs program and then determine where your efforts could improve.

Your organization’s success often depends upon the ability to advocate for your agenda. To achieve success and positive policy results, you must:

  • Increase effectiveness of policy development and issue advocacy programs
  • Increase ability to support friendly policy-makers
  • Increase PAC investments to advocate for policy goals
  • Increase member participation in advocacy programs

There are three components to a successful government affairs program – Policy, Politics and Public Advocacy.

Policy
In order to craft or improve public policy, it is critical to understand the political/policy environment, and provide solutions to the challenges faced.

  • Develop a pro-active approach to policy-making (offer solutions to challenges, as well as reacting to proposals made by others that negatively affect your interests)
  • Identify your organization’s legislative priorities (top three issues you want policy-makers to address this year)
  • Determine what your message is for each legislative priority, who will deliver your message, how you will deliver your message and what supporting information will be needed to persuade policy-makers (best practices, model policies, research, policy guides , testimonials, coalition support, etc.)

Politics
Who is elected determines the outcome of good policy. Organizations must have the ability to implement plans and utilize resources to impact elections.

  1. Identify which political offices are up for election and which elected officials support your interests and which ones do not
  2. Determine which elected officials are running, which candidates will likely be vulnerable and which seats will be open
  3. Recruit candidates for targeted races(focus on open seat opportunities and vulnerable candidates who do not support your interests)
  4. Endorse candidates who support your interests, and provide support to help ensure victory for your candidates (contribute funds, provide volunteers, conduct Independent Expenditures)
  5. Ensure you have the ability to influence elections by having sufficient PAC funds available (if you do not have the ability to help all your endorsed candidates win, then you need more funds in your PAC)

Public Advocacy
In order to ensure adoption of public policies that reflect your organization’s interests, you will often need to create the need for changing policies by raising attention, creating a presence and putting pressure on decision-makers to take action. In order to do this, you should be able to utilize marketing and public relations tools so that the public and policy-makers understand how to best improve policies.

  • Identify your target audiences (policy-makers, media, members, public)
  • Conduct surveys to understand what the public thinks and how to reach them
  • Develop effective messages that resonate with the target audience
  • Conduct marketing and media strategies, issue advocacy campaigns and outreach activities to promote adoption of policies.

As always, let us know how we can help you achieve your goals.

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