Confessions of a PAC Eligible: Trends Observed and Lessons Learned to Help You Master PAC Outreach
July 19, 2017
Emily Cerling and Kristen Tyagi, DDC Senior Engagement Strategists
Here’s a scenario we’ve seen, based on employee PAC survey findings and employee feedback, across a range of industries, in companies both large and small.
Imagine you are a hard-working employee in a promising career at a company you love. But then one day, out of nowhere, you’re asked to donate to the company’s employee PAC.
“Woah, woah, woah. What’s a PAC,” you may think. Or, if you know what the PAC is, you may still have questions: “Where does the money I donate actually go? Why should I dedicate a portion of my hard-earned paycheck so that my company can meddle in politics?”
If you’re reading this, you probably understand why the PAC is important to your company. You see the value in contributing and have witnessed firsthand the legislative accomplishments that have come as a result of your company’s political engagement on an issue. Unfortunately, political apathy, distrust of a company mixing business and politics, and a general lack of understanding of what a PAC actually is are all challenges every employee PAC must overcome to be successful.
We are constantly emphasizing to our clients the importance of engaging PAC-eligible employees through a data-driven outreach strategy. This type of strategy effectively educates the eligible class on the role of the PAC, reflects the values and goals of the organization, and captivates them with compelling, easy-to-consume content.
Here are a few things we’ve learned along the way:
Lesson 1: Establish the foundation through education.
What we’ve heard from employees: “I have no idea what candidates or issues you support, so I cannot give money to a PAC without knowing this … The way it stands now, this information is a mystery.”
Understanding the ins and outs of a PAC can get a little murky, even for the inside-the-Beltway crowd. However, most corporations have a presence far beyond the politically minded Washington, D.C., and the knowledge gap among your PAC eligible audience, from understanding why they are being asked to give to how the PAC relates to the company’s mission and values, is directly correlated to their comfort level in contributing to the PAC.
It’s crucial for the PAC to clearly articulate the value the PAC brings to employees personally and why their participation matters. Transparency and educating your eligible employees helps build trust. And the more they trust you, the more likely they’ll feel comfortable with participating in the PAC.
Beyond the content, a steady stream of communication is vital to ensuring your audience is educated on the importance of the PAC, and the issues facing your business. How can you expect someone to feel comfortable giving money to an organization whose mission they don’t fully understand? Regular educational communications will help you overcome this hurdle.
Lesson 2: Speak to the values of your audience.
What we’ve heard from eligible employees: “I am not convinced that the goals of the PAC are aligned with my core values.”
Politics and money are personal, and as a PAC you’re asking your eligible audience to consider both. PAC communications must fit with the culture of your company to get buy-in. This includes speaking in a voice that resonates with the organization, and ensuring your PAC messaging strikes the right chord with your organization’s identity while also feeling authentic. Images and creative that accompany your messages must feel genuine to your audience as well.
For those companies that represent a diverse group of employee bases with different interests, segmenting your messaging according to audience is a valuable strategy to ensure you are speaking to the needs of each employee in a unique and distinct way.
If competition fuels your company, consider making your PAC more interactive and competitive. The more your organization’s brand, values and culture are reflected within your PAC communications, the more receptive your audience will be to even listen to what you’re asking them to do.
Lesson 3: Message delivery matters.
What we’ve heard from employees: “I have no time to read through all the materials. Put it in a much quicker, easier-to-understand format. PAC for dummies.”
It’s no secret that content that is easy to read, visually appealing, and compelling is critical to engaging your audience. However, content such as videos, infographics, or animated GIFs can fall flat if they’re not delivered to your PAC-eligible audience strategically.
Beyond the content itself, the means in which it is delivered is important. For some companies, their PAC-eligible employees may not have desk jobs as their work centers in a lab or in the field. For these employees, their mobile devices often serve as their main form of communication and correspondence. For these employees, PAC outreach that leverages a mobile-first strategy is critical. Quick, to-the-point messages are important. The more concise you can be, the better.
Have you hit a wall with your PAC communications? DDC can help you put together a strategy that will educate and motivate your eligible class to participate in your PAC, drawing on the lessons outlined above. Contact us to learn more.