What We Learned at #Advocacy18

February 9, 2018

On Monday, members of the Quorum team left dreary D.C. for sunny Orlando, Florida for the Public Affairs Council’s 2018 Advocacy Conference! We reconnected with familiar faces, made new friends, and most importantly listened to and learned from experts who shared best practices about advocacy, communications, and strategy. Here are our key takeaways from each conference track at #Advocacy18.

On Advocacy

Know Your Advocates

It is important that you know your advocates so you can best utilize their talents. Surveying advocates and stakeholders can be useful to find out which elected officials they have existing relationships with, but it can also be useful to find out where their talents would work best. Perhaps Advocate A loves talking to legislators but Advocate B would rather write a letter — you don’t want to give Advocate A’s job to Advocate B!

Keep Your Advocates Engaged

Staying on the top of mind of your advocates is important so they’ll be ready to take action when the time comes. Provide touch points for education and feedback so that your advocates always feel heard and are educated on the issue. Twitter chats, live videos, timely and well-designed newsletters and podcasts are some of the creative ways PAC members have engaged their advocates and stakeholders!

Activate Super Advocates

It is important to recognize and activate advocates who go above and beyond for your cause! These advocates can become ambassadors for your cause, both in their communities and in the halls of Congress. Empower them to train other advocates and help them organize local campaigns so in the long run, they’ll take initiative and advocate for your cause without your prompting.

Incentivize Your Advocates

Healthy competition never hurt anyone and it can be a great way to engage your advocates! Gamifying your campaign will give your advocates something to look forward to after taking action.

On Communication

Learn the Language of Your Audience

Whether you are speaking to the C-Suite or your advocates, you have to learn what resonates with your audience and tailor your communications to them. When communicating with your executives, go past telling them what you did. Instead, show them how your work has affected your organization in a positive way. To mitigate advocate fatigue, make sure you are sending the right message to the right advocate—narrow your communications to the issues each advocate is specifically interested in, rather than bombarding them with your full issue portfolio.

Share Stories as Part of Your Campaign

Personal stories stay on our mind. Storytelling can make all the difference when you are trying to convince your advocate to take action or are explaining to a legislator why an issue is important. Tell the stories of advocates affected by this issue and who need elected officials to take action.

Cut Through The Noise

We live in a world that is oversaturated with information. When building relationships, focus on educating your audience — this is the first step to position your organization as a reliable, educational resource so that you’re top of mind when policymakers and members of the media want to be educated on your issue.

On Strategy

Think Like a Business Major When Defining Value of Advocacy Campaigns

When defending and expanding public affairs and advocacy budgets within larger organizations, whether corporate, non-profit or associations, define how the advocacy campaign can impact the organization’s bottom-line. Whether it’s saving revenue, jobs, or creating an opportunity to expand to a new market, advocacy plays a crucial role in the larger operations of an organization, and it is the responsibility of the public affairs professional to define the value of a campaign to the organization.

Organize Integrated Campaigns

No longer can you silo communications, public relations and government relations teams. To grab the attention of policymakers, you want to surround them with integrated campaigns. Utilize both earned and paid media, traditional lobbying, social media and your advocates to get your message across.

Listen To Your Data

Analyzing the data you have will turn it into meaningful intelligence that will help achieve your goals. Use the information you have to better target and mobilize your advocates and to target the policymakers who have the most influence on a particular issue. Data is not only relevant when strategizing for a campaign, but also when communicating the success of a campaign to an organization’s leadership team.

Now that we are back in D.C., we’re excited to see how our clients will use Quorum to achieve their advocacy goals this year. Want to learn more about how Quorum can help your organization keep your advocates engaged? Download our white paper on taking a “zero-barriers” approach to advocacy.

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