At its most fundamental, advocacy is educating policymakers about the issues impacting your business and customers, telling them about the issues that impact your business as well as your day-in and day-out experiences. Eris Group LLC Partners Doyle Bartlett, Greg Mesack and Chris McCannell held a breakout session on “Policy Advocacy – How to Amplify Your Voice,” exploring strategies for effective advocacy.
Educating policymakers and regulators helps limit the risk to your business and your customers from legislative and regulatory actions and helps expand business opportunities, Bartlett said. The key is making sure you effectively target federal and state policymakers as well as outside influencers to build long-term relationships.
Starting early and identifying key federal, state and local leaders will help you create allies and develop them throughout their careers. It’s important to be opportunistic and identify those who are driving the agenda, McCannell said.
“It’s critical to educate when you don’t need something so that when you do need something, that relationship is there,” Mesak said. “Educate before there’s an issue so that you’re the ones they turn to when they have a question or need information.”
An effective messaging strategy is sharing information about the alternatives industry, including jobs created, equity and other economic opportunities that companies bring to local districts as well as nationally. Information can be shared via meetings, letters, studies and other outreach.
And outreach doesn’t have to be in local or national offices, you can also advocate and build relationships with lawmakers in their districts including political events, ribbon cuttings and other informal meetings.
The key is to make sure advocacy is consistent, ongoing and includes follow-up at appropriate intervals. And if you’re looking for messaging documents, letters and other position paper, the IPA advocacy site has resources, talking points and other documents to help in your efforts.
For more information about IPA’s advocacy efforts and ways to get involved, click here.