How Quorum Can Help Public Affairs Teams Respond To and Work Effectively During the Coronavirus Outbreak

March 12, 2020

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, organizations are faced with challenges revolving around the cancellation of events and remote work.

Policymakers are right in the thick of the outbreak, faced with legislative challenges on providing health and economic resources to constituents, nevermind the fact that six members of Congress are in self-quarantine.

With these challenges, teams are evaluating the digital tools they have to get work done, from Zoom video conferencing for remote meetings to VPNs for data security across wifi networks. For public affairs professionals, Quorum can also play a critical role in maintaining engagement both with policymakers and with your team in a way that allows you to continue to have an impact on the policy landscape.

Engaging Policymakers During the Coronavirus

The Capitol is currently closed to tours and as of Wednesday, March 11th, there had been one confirmed congressional staffer who tested positive for COVID-19. Traveling to state capitals could be risky as well with the large numbers of visitors passing in and out on a daily basis. With a legislative and regulatory tracking system like Quorum, you can keep your ear to the ground from wherever you are.

Then, you can use Quorum’s Outbox tool to communicate your message via personalized email when in-person meetings aren’t feasible. Make your emails stand out by using targeted lists of staffers who work on specifically on your issue, using personalization tokens to make your email appear unique to that staffer, and tracking engagement in real-time so you can properly follow up. As many organizations will likely be turning to this means of communication and filling up the inbox of legislative staff, taking these extra steps to stand out will be critical.

If your organization’s issues relate to the heightened conversation around paid sick leave, trade, travel, or other issues specifically impacted by the coronavirus, make sure Congress knows that your organization is a thought leader on these issues and they can use you as a resource. Send emails through Quorum to communicate the impact these policies have on your organization and their constituents and how you can be a partner in identifying a solution.

Turning Your Grassroots Advocacy Online

It’s fly-in season, but with travel restrictions and recommendations against large gatherings, many organizations may be canceling these annual events. However, with a digital advocacy software like Quorum, you can organize a virtual fly-in that sends a strong, coordinated message across Capitol Hill or state legislatures.

With Quorum Grassroots, organizations can collect letters from advocates over time and keep them under review while you continue to drive more advocates to contribute to the campaign. Then, when you’ve garnered a sufficient number of letters, your organization can send all the letters at once in bulk, with every legislator receiving the letters at the same time. This creates a louder message than if the letters had been sent over a longer period of time.

Communicating Your Crisis Plan to Stakeholders

Policymakers may not be the only people your public affairs team needs to communicate with. If your organization’s work is impacted by the virus, you may be communicating with non-government stakeholders to make them aware of how your organization is responding to coronavirus.

Quorum makes it easy to plan and execute on your organization’s crisis communications strategy with a contact database where you can store information, custom fields on your contacts to tag stakeholders by priority so you can easily filter for who needs to receive your crisis communications, and an integrated email tool so you can build a list and send a message to your stakeholders all in the same system.

Finally, use Quorum’s alerts to stay on top of dialogue from your stakeholders across social media to know who mentions your organization, so if a key stakeholder is commenting on your coronavirus response, you can be alerted immediately.

Managing Team Workflows When Remote

So you’ve got your communication to policymakers and stakeholders under control while in-person engagement is reduced or eliminated, but what about internal communication across your team and your organization leadership?

Quorum offers a number of internal communications tools within the platform that help everyone stay on the same page:

  • Your team can share tracking dashboards to follow key bills as they move through the legislative process; updates in Quorum will keep everyone informed of one another’s work.

  • Manage all of the key aspects of your policy portfolio through issue management—an organization system that allows you to keep track of legislation, regulation, stakeholders, files, and more all in one place.

  • Tag team members with @mentions in comments on bills, notes, and more to discuss action items or ask questions.

  • When you have insights to report to your organization’s leadership, use Quorum Sheets to share spreadsheets of your activity and successes with leadership.

Best Practice:

If your organization isn’t yet working remotely or your work isn’t yet impacted by the coronavirus, it's important to take the time now to determine how your team can work most effectively if forced to readjust your workflows. For public affairs, consider a tool like Quorum to get ahead on managing your policy landscape when a crisis hits.

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