Is your corporate advocacy program as strong as it can be? Now is the time to benchmark your corporate advocacy program and see if there are ways you can expand your employee’s involvement with the issues your organization cares about.
Here are five levels of a corporate advocacy program:
Level 1: Give Advocates A Place To Take Action
The first and most basic kind of corporate advocacy program is to simply have a place where employees, customers, and suppliers can go and take action. This basic advocacy program is best used when responding to mission-critical issues where you need as many people as possible calling or writing their Members of Congress and you are fine sending the advocacy alert out to everyone at once. Make sure you have a provider picked out to provide the grassroots advocacy widget that will connect people and their messages with their Member of Congress, and you have a way to send your action alert to these one-time advocates.
Level 2: Send Targeted Email Campaigns
The second level of corporate advocacy programs is to have a system in place that is pre-loaded with your employee emails and addresses. This system will allow you to target e-mail messages to advocates represented by particular legislators. Do you only need to sway House Democrats? Do you only need four members of the Ways and Means Committee to say yes? No problem—target your employees who live in those key districts.
Level 3: An Organized Employee Grassroots Program
The middle tier of corporate advocacy programs is to have an organized employee grassroots program. This program should be branded and demonstrate to your employees your company’s commitment to taking action. Having an organized, established advocacy program is an important step to take if you plan to send more frequent alerts, as it clearly communicates the importance of employee’s participation. An established advocacy program will also require more resources to put together and maintain than the first or second tier of programs.
Level 4: Build A Grasstops Ambassador Program
The fourth tier of corporate advocacy programs establishes a grasstops advocacy program where you assign selected employees to Members of Congress and coach them on developing meaningful relationships with their assigned Member. This program level allows you to invite the Member to visit your grasstops advocates at work, have the advocate show up for a meeting at the member’s district office, or bring the advocate to Washington to meet with the Member—all building a stronger relationship between your employee and the member.
Level 5: Launch A Publicly Accessible Action Center
The top tier of a corporate grassroots advocacy program is to launch a publicly accessible action program or multiple advocacy programs at once. This will enable you to activate a broader community than just your full-time employees including retirees, suppliers, customers, and other interested stakeholders. This is the top tier because it is the most difficult to implement. As you establish a publicly accessible program, you will need to get sign off across the company for the program and invest more time and resources in developing the program, but these efforts have the potential to bring big returns.
Legislators have shared with Quorum that engaging with their own constituents is extremely important, so bringing your employees and stakeholders into your advocacy program can greatly increase a legislator’s interest in your issues.