The world is digitizing—teams are embracing modern platforms and software across their organizations. From marketing technology to new membership systems, many associations are updating the tools they use to do their work. This modernization has also applied to public affairs. Here are four innovative ways leading associations are modernizing their public affairs teams.
Destinations International monitors dialogue on social media to track statements from local, state, and federal officials, helping it identify the origins of a legislative threat, and act before the threat gains momentum. Every member of Congress is on Facebook and Twitter, and 360 are on Instagram. In the state legislatures, 50 percent of officials are on Twitter and 75 percent are on Facebook. The adoption of social media by legislators has widened the breadth of information at your association’s disposal. Innovative associations have put it to use to identify potential legislative champions, have an early warning system for legislative challenges, and create new opportunities to engage with stakeholders.
Logging meetings with legislators in a digital system is key for the Retail Industry Leaders Association. Having a central database of notes ensures that information from meetings does not get lost or forgotten and helps teams stay on the same page. Before someone goes into a meeting, they can quickly glance at past meeting notes and be up-to-date on the legislator’s relationship with the association and where they stand on the issues RILA cares about. If someone on the team leaves the association, their information is saved in the database of notes and available for new hires to easily absorb institutional knowledge about the relationship.
When Engine needed to make its voice heard on the issue of net neutrality, it sent personalized messages to legislators to show how the issue would impact their state or district. Your association is likely sending messages to your members on a regular basis. You can use similar content that you send to your members to communicate the positive work of your association to policymakers. With modern technology, it’s possible to send personalized messages to each individual legislator and track metrics on email opens and link clicks to measure the impact of your communication.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists has grown its advocate network by launching modern, mobile-friendly grassroots campaigns. Your members are your microphone—they can help amplify your message, so it’s critical that there is a low barrier to grassroots participation. Your association’s members are more likely to participate in your grassroots campaigns if it’s easy to take action, so use a digital tool that allows them to take action from their phone. To maximize the impact of your advocates, launch combined campaigns so they can take multiple actions from the same action center—such as calling, writing, and tweeting their legislators.