Change Election: Why Proactive Engagement In Your Advocacy Efforts Is A Must
October 31, 2018
Jonathan Felts, Senior Vice President, Client Relations
The midterm elections have come and gone and brought some serious change to our legislature with the Democrats picking up 30+ seats and a record number of young new representatives elected to office.
Traditionally, companies and organizations see any election, but especially a change election, as a good excuse to diminish their advocacy efforts and, immediately after the election, seek out those with the perceived best access to new lawmakers, like lobbyists.
“It’s better to wait out this change and start back up again once things have settled down and we understand the playing field, right?”
“I have to hire someone who has access to this new legislator or else I don’t have anything to offer.”
Don’t do this! Now more than ever, your approach to advocacy must be proactive and intentional. Your organization’s story is important regardless of what else is going on and shouldn’t be limited by the political cycle. You have a positive story to tell and you need to ensure the right people are hearing it.
Your organization needs to have an advocacy game plan now, regardless of election outcomes. Putting a hold on your plans or drastically changing your advocacy goals based on new leadership can hurt your efforts in a number of ways:
Pausing your efforts may mean losing momentum.
Your organization spent time and energy building an advocacy program, telling your story, and securing positive engagement from enthusiastic champions. To stop communicating and engaging for a month or two means risking the loss of important potential advocates. In periods of uncertainty, a strong advocacy engagement doesn’t hinder advocacy efforts, but can actually serve to help stabilize your position in the face of significant change, with champions mobilized and ready to take action, regardless of who is in office. Elections and their results shouldn’t slow down or stop that.
You still have a story to tell, regardless of party lines or election results.
No matter who won or lost on Election Day, your organization can still tell a story that builds and promotes the intrinsic value of your goals and objectives. Your story is going to look gray to most folks and that’s why it’s important to build a narrative that demonstrates the overall good and importance that your organization provides your community. Creating a story that rises above party labels and transcends partisan labels protects your efforts from the whims of the political cycle, and means your efforts aren’t deterred by the result of one election.
Don’t forget the influence constituents (and potential advocates) have with legislators.
After an election, the knee-jerk reaction is to rush out and hire lobbyists with the right connections—and the right letter after their last name, R or D—and call it a day. But in reality, you still need advocacy efforts to amplify your government affairs strategies, because no matter who is in office, they are accountable to the same constituents back home. And those constituents are your advocates. By continuing to nurture and grow these relationships, you will be ready regardless of the curveballs thrown at you during any one election cycle.
DDC brings a post-partisan approach to advocacy and understands how to build programs that can work regardless of who is in office, which party holds the majority, or what time of year it is. Whether we are engaged in a purely Inside-the-Beltway campaign or an on-the-ground effort in any number of states, we have the relationships in place to ensure your story stays above the partisan fray in a stable space.
Senior Vice President Jonathan Felts is a seasoned public affairs strategist who uses his twenty years of communications and public affairs experience to develop and implement strategic campaigns for Fortune 100 corporations, major organizations, and leading trade associations at DDC. His Client Relations team can help develop a solution that provides preferred outcomes regardless of election results. To learn more about Jonathan, please check out his profile here.