Government Relations Strategy Template

July 5, 2018

Is your organization’s success impacted by government policy at the federal, state, or local level? If so, it’s important to have an organized government relations strategy that includes defining your issues, identifying legislative champions, building relationships with elected officials, and structuring a grassroots advocacy program.

Stay organized and don't miss a step while building your government relations strategy—Click here for an editable template with tables and checklists.

Here are the six-steps that should be part of every successful government relations strategy:

1. Define Your Issues

What issues does your organization care about? Are you trying to change an existing piece of legislation, or introduce something new? Is your issue affected at the federal, state, or local level? Organize the issues your organization cares about in a table.

2. Identify Your Legislative Champions

Which legislators are most active on your issue? Through a variety of methods, you can figure out which legislators of Congress, state legislators, or city officials are critical to the outcome of the issue your organization cares about. Click to the editable template to see a few ways you can identify legislative champions.

3. Build Relationships with Legislative Champions

Once you’ve identified potential legislative champions, you have to build relationships with those legislators and their staff. Surveys from the Congressional Management Foundation have shown that meeting with a legislative office just once is unlikely to have an impact, and it’s important to show the legislator that you are interested in their work and not just seeing them to make an ask. See the editable template for a checklist of key steps to building relationships with legislative champions.

4. Track Legislation

While you’re building relationships with legislators, you need to be alert to any legislation introduced that affects the issues you care about. First, find a tool that allows you to track legislation. Then, set up a system to organize the legislation your organization is tracking. At times, your organization will likely need to be tracking progress on several pieces of legislation at once, potentially across the federal and state levels, so it’s important to be organized. There are three different ways to visualize your legislative tracking, and an advanced legislative tracking tool will let you easily see all three. Get started by organizing your legislative tracking plan.

5. Communicate Updates to Legislators and Coalition Members

Along with in-person visits to legislators’ offices, it’s important to communicate your organization’s impact through email communication as well. These updates can include events your organization is holding in a legislator’s district, new facilities your organization is opening, or new policies your organization has implemented. So as not to overload offices with emails, or go too long without communicating, plan out a schedule of when your team will be sending a message.

6. Integrate Grassroots Advocacy

While your government relations staffers are busy taking meetings with legislators and communicating to stakeholders, a grassroots program can help amplify the voice of your organization to a wider audience. With a well-organized grassroots program, organizations can utilize constituents from a legislator’s district to get their attention, utilize personal relationships, and share stories with legislators. A checklist for a successful grassroots program can be found in the strategy template.

Best Practice:

Return to step one of this template. Starting with the most critical, make sure you have gone through each of the key steps to making an impact on that issue. Continue to update your plan regularly as legislators in office and your organization’s issue priorities change. Consider an integrated tool built for public affairs like Quorum to organize and execute your government relations strategy.

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