The Alzheimer's Association's Strategy for Tracking State Legislation

October 17, 2018

Challenge: Keeping Pace with All 50 States

Since 2015, state legislatures have cumulatively introduced over 500 bills per year mentioning Alzheimer’s Disease. For the Alzheimer’s Association, it’s critical to know what legislative actions states are taking regarding a disease that affects 5.7 million Americans.

Prior to the 2018 legislative sessions, the association’s national policy office in DC was responsible for tracking state legislation. One person followed what was happening across all 50 states, but bills were falling through the cracks.

“We weren’t able to stay on top of the bill tracking the way we’d like to state-by state as far as the number of details that are included in a bill summary or knowing what is really relevant to our population,” said Jennifer Rosen, Director of State Affairs at the Alzheimer’s Association. “There were things the office was missing because I had a 50-state scope and didn’t have my ear to the ground in every single state.”

The Alzheimer’s Association knew it needed a new process for tracking state legislation so it turned to digital tools with the hope of improving its efficiency and with the desire to expand collaboration between the field and the DC office.

Solution: A Tool Built for Teams

Quorum has allowed Rosen to organize state legislative tracking and improve workflow across teams. Rosen was able to shift more of the state tracking to local chapters on the ground in each state and keep a better pulse on legislative activity. Then, the DC office could focus on identifying national trends and providing resources to state chapters.

“We created and formalized our legislative tracking process with a 50-state scope once we engaged with Quorum,” Rosen said. “Now our state government affairs lead in every state in the field has the responsibility to do the tracking for their state, and they are required to do so in Quorum.”

Each year before legislative sessions begin, Rosen builds the main legislative tracking dashboard that all states utilize. With field team members in all 50 states working from the same tracking dashboard, Rosen can observe trends in legislation as they spread across the country. She also sets search terms for key issues the association will track in the upcoming year, so that field team members receive an email alert anytime a new bill is introduced that matches one of Rosen’s terms.

Then, when states are in session, Quorum alerts field team members if a bill from their state fits one of Rosen’s search terms so that they can categorize the bill appropriately by priority, stance, and issue area. The field staffer then writes a custom description on the bill profile of what the proposed legislation means for the Alzheimer’s community. Consistency in how bills are tagged and organized makes it easy for Rosen to spot trends and build reports for the Alzheimer’s Association national board.

“Our nationwide tracking project is where we can really see the trends that we need to see,” Rosen said. “We can spend time analyzing what we need to do, and if I need to put together a report for our national board that talks about our tracking for the year and the scope on how many bills we were tracking, how many passed, what were the key focuses, I need to be consistent in our issue areas.”

Alongside tracking state legislation, Rosen uses Quorum’s social media monitoring of state officials to highlight members who are vocal on key issues for the Alzheimer’s Association. Rosen sets up email alerts for mentions of “Alzheimer’s” by legislators on social media, and each week she picks out tweets for the organization’s weekly newsletter.

“[The newsletter has] always included a handful of tweets from congressional members each week in their newsletters, and now they include tweets from state officials as well thanks to the Quorum tracking,” Rosen said. “I’ve been able to elevate the presence of our state level work association-wide with our donors and our stakeholder groups and our advocates.”

Impact: A Game Changer

With Quorum, Rosen and the state legislative affairs team at the Alzheimer’s Association are able to collaborate on bill tracking, and as a result, the field and the staff in DC have been able to expand the association’s impact.

“I have heard from a number of states once they had access to this how they thought it was a game changer,” Rosen said. “They were excited to use it, and it upped their game.”

Quorum has made it faster and easier for the Alzheimer’s Association to track legislation across all 50 states without bills or important dialogue on the disease slipping through the cracks. Using digital tools has allowed the association to keep an ear to the ground while maintaining a clear line of communication to the national policy office.

To see how your team can use Quorum for tracking state legislation, request a demo.

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