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2024 State of Public Affairs



Written by Jesse Childs, VP of Client Accounts


The Presidential election has taken center stage, and the rematch between Donald Trump and Joe Biden feels as though it officially kicked off around President Biden's State of The Union address last week. Although the election may have you feeling like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, we’re here to update you on the current state of public affairs and how to position yourself to make an impact this election year. 





Conversations



Presidential election year news cycles are dominated by the hot-button issues on which each candidate and their respective parties are focused. The election, the economy, immigration, abortion, and foreign affairs were the primary focus of Biden’s address. You may ask yourself if these were just talking points, or will there be movement on these issues? But you should be asking yourself: How can I be ready to move when one of my issues comes front and center?


We all know in an election year, especially with split chambers, not much is going to get done in Congress …no one wants to give their opponents any additional ammo. With Federal action unlikely on controversial issues like AI and social media regulation, immigration, and reproductive rights, many states are taking action. Just in the past few months state level action on immigration and access to reproductive care have taken the national spotlight. With a divided Federal government and the looming presidential election, states will continue with their legislative sessions regardless of federal inaction. That means you could potentially be facing multiple fights instead of just one. Having a plan and advocates ready to mobilize will only benefit your program when the time comes to weigh in.


Engaging and Nurturing Advocates


Creating a grassroots army takes time; it does not happen at the flip of a switch. Yes, when a top issue comes up that your stakeholders care about, it is a great time to activate or engage with advocates, but the lead-up to these pivotal moments is just as important to make the most of these opportunities.

 

Before launching your first recruitment campaign or getting ready to scale your efforts, assessing your advocate journey/pipeline is always important. Once they have signed up, what will their welcome message look like? What does it say? Are you planning to recruit individuals who are familiar with your organization, or is this their first introduction? Being mindful of the knowledge your target audience has about your organization is crucial in mapping out the coinciding follow-up communications and engagement. Education about potential issues and legislation that directly impact them and their lives can hugely benefit activation down the road. Which brings us to…


Building credibility with your audience


Whether it’s providing routine updates on policy issues, highlighting useful resources, or sharing stories from “Super Advocates,” if you’re consistent with communication and are able to provide timely updates, your audience will view you as a go-to source for information on this topic. 


“Super” Advocate Storytelling


Highly engaged individuals who have taken several actions in your communications throughout their advocate journey/lifetime are not only a great benefit to the success of your program, but they can also be a great recruitment resource. If you haven’t already, a great way to identify these folks is by getting them to share their story. This can be done through an email/form and is very beneficial to 1.) Getting to know why they care about your issues, and 2.) Highlighting their stories for elected officials or other potential advocates.

 

Incorporating raw and authentic stories from real-life constituents or community members can bring your issues to life like no other storytelling capability can. Capturing these stories doesn’t necessarily require a full-scale video production. Creating a series using Zoom interview recordings, studio-recorded testimonials, or even user-generated video content can be just as useful. Knowing what resources you have available, defining the production process, and ensuring consistency in post-production can deliver the message efficiently and effectively.


Want to learn more about the advocate journey and how to enhance your advocacy storytelling?



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