10 Innovations in Public Affairs Strategy

The Public Affairs industry is changing. Every year, new technology solutions make it easier than ever to perform routine tasks, like logging meetings or tracking legislation, leaving more time to expand the impact of an organization’s work.

At Quorum, we’re constantly thinking up new ways to innovate how organizations approach stakeholder engagement, legislative tracking, and grassroots advocacy.

Here are ten innovations we’re watching in the public affairs industry:

Bots of the Future

The future of artificial intelligence is complex and multi-faceted, but that shouldn’t steer you away. Organizations are working on developing an AI Slack Bot designed to scrape, organize, and deliver press clips to its entire public affairs team.

Quorum has built a Slack Bot to alert users to upcoming congressional hearings, including hearing topic and location. Learn how to download the Slack Bot here.

Keeping Consultants Accountable with Digital Tools

The government affairs team at a Fortune 500 company requires its lobbyists to log all their meetings with legislators digitally, empowering the company to easily track and measure the lobbyists’ engagement with their assigned legislative offices.

See how Quorum makes it easier for your contract lobbyists to log meetings and for your organization to track their progress.

A Formula for Success in Government Relations

We’ve met with organizations who use an Excel model to determine the impact a given policy would have on the exact number of units sold of a product. From there, the public affairs team can calculate the revenue implications of a given policy.

Based on those implications, the organization sets a target for how much it is willing to spend to fight or promote a given policy to justify the work on the bottom line.

This approach empowers individual team members to know the impact they’re having and measure the impact of your government affairs team.

A Hub for Engaging the Industry

Government Affairs offices are constantly coming up with new interactive ways of engaging their stakeholders with site visits. While the headquarters of your organization may be outside of DC, use your DC office space to immerse legislators in the industry your organization represents with creative, interactive spaces.

Seeing the impact of the industry in person makes it more likely to stick in a legislator’s mind. When that member is voting on an issue that will affect the organization’s work, they’ll have a firsthand experience to inform their vote.

Ranking Issues to Focus on What Matters

Organizations are developing team-centric models for deciding the issues they need to prioritize. For instance, a department executive asks each team member to rank the organization's policy issues on three scales: importance, influence, and urgency. Those scores are then averaged into a scorecard plotted out by tier.

Tier 1 issues are issues that the organization feels fit each of these categories—it is vital to the organization’s bottom line, it is urgent and must be addressed in the short term. The lower tiers include conflicting ratings in importance, influence, and urgency. For example, they may be of high importance to your organization’s bottom line, but not worth spending as much time on because the likelihood of the organization being an influencer is low. With a data-driven approach to assigning policy issues to the first, second or third tier, executives can set priorities for the time and money the team will spend in a year.

Mapping Your Priorities

Building a relationship with every lawmaker in the country is hard. Your team should start by identifying the legislators they need to know in every state (allies and detractors). From there, you can map out key stakeholders and relationships to target outreach.

Using a stakeholder matrix, your organization can map your stakeholders by their interest (their willingness to get involved with your organization) and their potential influence (their ability to cause change) to help you achieve your objective.

Time Your Messaging

Messaging matters. Use a “policy reputation calendar” to time positive messaging to stakeholders around events—promote scholarship programs in September to celebrate “Back to School” or share your team’s veterans initiatives on Veteran’s Day.

It’s important to stay top-of-mind with your stakeholders, so make sure your messaging is organized in a way that stakeholders continue to hear from you on important subjects, but not bombarding them with too many messages. Consider these six kinds of messages to share with your stakeholders.

The Ground Game

There are 535 members of Congress, and a large corporate organization has a grasstops advocacy program where it has assigned an employee to each member. By developing a nation-wide network of ambassadors, they can build personal relationships with the legislator’s office. Then, the legislative office has a face and a name to connect to the impact that a policy will have on the organization.

These employee volunteers are also able to lead the charge of hosting facility visits and in-district meetings. According to Congressional Management Foundation President Brad Fitch, one meeting with a legislator isn’t enough to make an impact and advocates should aim for four meetings with an office per year. By having an employee assigned to each district, this target of four meetings with each office becomes much more feasible.

The Power of Storybanking

Every advocate has a compelling story to share. Your advocacy work should include collecting the stories your supporters have to share. With Quorum's grassroots advocacy tools, you can set up a campaign to collect advocate stories that your staff can then bring to meetings with legislators.

Story banking is more than just a collection of sound bites but real-life experiences for lawmakers to see the impact of policies. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11) noted in an interview with Quorum that stories from advocates are especially effective at making an issue stick in a legislators mind and drive progress on an issue.

The Moneyball Approach

A major lobbying firm embraces a powerful data-driven approach to identifying legislative champions. By using a three-step process (lobbyist prediction, analytics triage, and lobbyist calibration), the firm can make confident decisions about which lawmakers are the most active, influential, and effective in different policy areas.

Quorum provides a variety of analytics that your organization can use, in addition to the knowledge your lobbyists bring to the table. From data on who legislators work with most to what hashtags they are using to message their policy plans, data can provide another layer of information to further the success of your public affairs work.

Public Affairs is continuing to modernize and digitize. At Quorum, we believe that starts with the tools your team is using. See some of the ways Destinations International is innovating with Quorum.

Public affairs professionals should have modern software built for them. Request a demo today to learn why.