Written by Jesse Childs, Director, Client Accounts
It’s been a little over a week since President Biden gave his State of the Union Address, and while it may feel like the world is falling (or giant arachnids) apart around us, let’s take a look at the current state of public affairs.
Future Advocate Engagement
As the fog of COVID begins to lift from everyday life (knock on wood, twice) and we see the return of in-person meetings, events, and possibly even fly-in meetings, we know one thing is certain: In some shape or form, the virtual advocacy world is here to stay. Leading up to 2020, we saw a trend toward the use of digital advocacy tools and tactics.
However, the pandemic forced advocacy professionals and advocates into a digital world, whether they wanted to or not. This also forced Congressional offices to do the same, resulting in the adoption of new technologies for constituent engagement, and according to a 2020 Congressional Management Foundation survey these resources will continue to play a role.
See report here: https://www.congressfoundation.org/projects/communicating-with-congress/coronavirus-report-2020
While we continue to familiarize ourselves with this new landscape and how best to engage with congress, below are three things you can do to improve your advocacy program:
Evaluate your advocate engagement program performance over the last 12-24 months. How did this compare to 2019 or 2018? Did you recruit more advocates and/or have more engagements? Were these engagements more personal?
What does your advocacy pipeline look like? Where are you acquiring your advocates? How are you regularly engaging with them? Are they repeatedly taking action on your priority issues?
What type of actions are your advocates taking? Are they frequently communicating with their lawmakers on your behalf? Should you encourage them to engage in other ways? Have you asked them to submit a personalized video or record their story via a Zoom meeting?
The Policy Front
Although we are in an election year with a divided Congress and lengthy agenda for the legislative calendar, not all hope is lost when it comes to your niche or specific policy issue.
Just this week the Senate passed the 2021 Postal Service Reform act, a policy initiative for some that has been ongoing for the last 10 years (shoutout to the Package Coalition and the 21st Century Postal Coalition). This just goes to show that nothing is impossible if you continue to engage and push forward.
Even if your legislative priorities have stalled in Congress due to partisan gridlock, engaging at the state level can be as, if not more effective in many cases. Over the course of the pandemic, the importance of state and local governments has come into focus, resulting in an explosion of activity. According to Capitol Canary, state-level advocacy connections on their platform have risen 35% this year when compared to 2021 alone. So do as the President said to close out his SOTU address and ‘Go get em!’