Association membership decisions are no longer made out of a sense of loyalty. Companies are now much more discriminating with their budgets and expect your association to prove its value. Because your government relations team protects your members’ bottom lines and helps their businesses prosper, you contribute enormously to the membership ROI equation.
Why are association government affairs teams important?
As an individual business, you may have a limited voice, making it harder to move the needle on policy. However, an association’s government affairs team has the weight of a full industry to support its efforts. With lobbying and advocacy being a main objective of associations, they often have strong resources to track the high volumes of legislation being introduced at the federal and state levels, maintain relationships with legislative champions for the industry, and launch campaigns that activate advocates across the industry.
7 membership benefits provided by your association’s government relations team
Want to be a hero for the membership department—and get a chance to brag to your colleagues about your team’s contributions? Offer them this membership marketing inspiration: a refresher on the value provided by your government relations team.
#1: Serve as a government relations team on call
Your association’s government relations team serves as an extension of the company’s leadership team. For the price of dues, your members have access to an advocacy team with deep industry and technical knowledge, historical insight into legislative/regulatory issues, and an extensive network of policymakers and their staff. For example, your association may provide an auto-updating bill tracker on their website to show what legislation they are advocating for, fighting against, or watching to see if it picks up movement. This way, when your c-suite asks for an update on the legislative landscape, you can pull resources from your association to share.
#2: Leverage influence as the voice of the industry
Your team has the ear of policymakers because they know your association represents hundreds if not thousands of members and serves as the voice of your industry. You promote the interests of members in Washington D.C., state capitals, local communities, or wherever else you need to show up to fight on their behalf. When the issue calls for it, your association has the power to build coalitions with like-minded organizations or adjacent associations to bring more power to the table and better influence the outcome of legislation.
#3: Profit from a proactive stance
Your association puts up a vigorous defense to fight against harmful legislation and regulations, but having a powerful offense is an even better strategy. Year-round, you work with policymakers to create a better business environment for your members and to put forth legislative and regulatory solutions for challenges hindering the growth of your industry.
Along with building a better business environment by fighting this legislation, association government affairs teams can help measure and identify economic impacts such as increased costs or opportunities for growth and provide those ROI metrics to members to empower them with executives.
#4: Keep an ear to the ground
Because the government relations team constantly meets with legislators and their staff, they can usually detect any hint of detrimental legislation, get ahead of it, and mitigate the risk it would present to the industry. But when human ears are out of range, Quorum’s dialogue tracking tool acts as an early warning system by picking up the hot topics discussed by legislators.
This intel, along with Quorum’s live federal, state, local, and EU legislative and regulatory updates, is also useful for members who have their own advocacy teams. Corporate lobbyists might only focus on information related to their company’s specific issues, but associations see the bigger picture. Because of your vigilance, your team can intercede and attempt to fend off unfriendly legislation or regulations.
#5: Educate and guide policymakers
Association representatives are specialists in their industry, which gives them credibility in the policy-making process. Quorum’s Download Center makes it easy for your team to provide background information, like industry one-pagers that educate policymakers and their staff on issues of concern. You share district-specific context that brings issues to life for legislators. These conversations often result in policymakers developing new perspectives once they understand how their decisions might impact constituents.
The government relations team also offers guidance on the development of language used in legislation, codes, policies, and regulations. Policy is complicated — legislators can’t be experts on every issue. But by having strong relationships within your association, you can be called on as an expert to inform legislation.
#6: Mobilize the professional community
The government relations team helps members understand legislative and regulatory processes and the role they can play in influencing these processes. Your grassroots action center helps you educate and inspire members to get involved and make a difference. You can rally support from members and encourage them to contact policymakers and help shape pending legislation.
#7: Empower members to get more involved
Invite members to attend your association’s government relations committee, sub-committee, and task force meetings. Members who serve on these governance groups help guide the association’s legislative and regulatory policies and the strategic direction of the association.
With Quorum, you can tie your successful advocacy and grassroots campaigns directly to legislative and regulatory wins. At the end of each congressional session, show the ROI members receive from your association’s advocacy efforts.
Consistently Prove Your Value — Keep Members in the Know
A lot of these benefits may happen behind the scenes. Members won’t know about the successes you have on the Hill and in other capitals unless you let them see for themselves what you’re working on and what you’ve accomplished — especially when that accomplishment is stopping something harmful from happening compared to new positive legislation.
Your newsletters keep members informed about legislation, regulations, and other news that affect their business. But why make them wait? Set up Quorum’s auto-updating dashboards for members to follow your team’s legislative and regulatory action at the state and federal levels whenever they wish.
The dashboard shows them the bills your team is watching and engaging on. The breadth of the team’s work becomes obvious with map views displaying the states in which you’re following a particular type of legislation. Members can see the number of meetings you’re having with key legislators on their behalf and upcoming committee hearings on specific topics. They can see which legislators are sponsoring key bills. Your victories show up in real-time on their screens.