Using live video streaming for advocacy

For the past few weeks, we’ve seen people tiptoe into the world of live video streaming apps including Meerkat and Periscope. While I’ve downloaded Periscope, I’ve yet to produce any content personally or professionally. However, here are some possibilities when it comes to using this service in your advocacy efforts.

1. Congressional Briefings

I once worked on a briefing for congressional staff on the challenges of and opportunities for parents with disabilities. We were bombarded with questions about making it available for outside the DC area. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the capacity to stream our briefing online.

Imagine if we were able to live stream brief segments of our congressional briefings, receptions or other activities for those who could not attend.

2. Hill Days

While you’ll likely be prohibited from live streaming the meeting, you can capture the excitement of your members making their way to Capitol Hill or the statehouse and broadcast it to your members.

3. Congressional Testimony

During a recent House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime hearing on online gambling, a representative from the Poker Players Alliance used Meerkat to give testimony. According to Politico, it was possibly the first use of live video streaming for testimony by an advocacy group. It remains to be seen whether other congressional committees will follow suit.

4. Member Updates

Give your members a live update on your advocacy efforts or breaking news on the status of legislation you’re working on.

 

What do you think of live video streaming for advocacy? Will it become another tool in our arsenal or just a fad?

 

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Would you pull a Claire Underwood?

Warning: this blog post contain spoilers from season 3 of House of Cards. If you haven’t seen the entire season run, consider yourself warned.

In season 3 of House of Cards, we find First Lady Claire Underwood seeking the UN ambassadorship to the United States. Upon announcing her nomination, she experiences extreme pushback based on lack of experience and appearance of nepotism among other issues. The Senate does not confirm her nomination, but she’s appointed by the President during a Senate recess (yes, this has happened). Things don’t go exactly as planned and she’s forced to resign.

This particular story arc leads to this question: Why would Claire go after a job she’s not qualified for? I don’t think there’s a simple answer to this. It’s been said that she wasn’t satisfied with “just being a First Lady”. While we don’t have much of a back story into why she wanted the UN ambassadorship, we do know that Claire is very ambitious and knows that as long as she has that and a brain, she can do whatever the heck she wants.

I’m not suggesting that we all go after jobs we’re not qualified for. However I wonder if Claire is on to something. When it comes to our own career development, just how far are we willing to go to get that desired position? For the Underwoods, it may take lying, manipulation and (spoiler alert) murder. For association professionals, it may raising your profile through conference presentations or shifting from a specialist role to a management role. Whatever it is for you, there’s an important lesson to be learned from the Claire debacle: wanting a particular position and actually having the ability to do said position are two different things. Know which side of the fence you’re on.

 

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With friends like Public Relations, who needs Lobbying?

The Center for Public Integrity recently reported on how some trade associations were turning to public relations and advertising instead of lobbying to influence legislators. They point to the lack of disclosure rules and expansive outreach as factors in this shift. While these groups still spent money on lobbying, public relations and communications are receiving more resources and attention.

As an association lobbyist, it raises some interesting questions. First, is this the beginning of the end of lobbying? The article tries to tie in the rise of PR campaigns with the decline of lobbying expenditures. However, it’s too simple of an explanation. It doesn’t account for those who were once lobbyists, but no longer fit the definition and doesn’t have to register. Second, is what PR companies doing count as lobbying? Sure, the primary audience for these PR firms is the public. However, it’s abundantly clear that the real targets for their outreach are those Members of Congress with jurisdiction over their client’s issues. Third, what does this mean for the lobbyist? I think those of us who continue to advocate without developing any communications expertise run the risk of becoming useless. If I can’t articulate my point to the legislative director, my board chair and the family down the street, my association will turn to someone who can.

Will PR campaigns replace lobbying? I don’t think so. It remains an important function for many associations. However, they should consider public relations when putting together an advocacy strategy.

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Now What?

Continue reading

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Generation Advocacy

I have a confession to make. This past June, I gave birth to my baby. Now that my baby’s 6 months old, I felt it was time to show them off.

Introducing Generation Advocacy.

No, I have not gone Hollywood and gave a child a weird name (although we could call them Ginny for short). Generation Advocacy is the name of my new business. GA, which is what I affectionately call it, is my advocacy training/PAC management/general government relations consulting service.

In the 15+ years I’ve done government relations, I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who never knew they could meet with their legislator and talk about issues that affect them. My goal for GA is to spread the message that you (yes you) have the power and ability to advocate. We will give you the skills and know how to tackle a Capitol Hill visit with ease. Along with advocacy training, GA also works with political action committees as well provides direction for an association’s government relations efforts.

Generation Advocacy wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for some wonderful colleagues and friends who pushed, encouraged and in some cases threatened me if I didn’t embark on this journey. To them I say, thank you :-). If you have a few minutes, please visit the website and let me what you think. Want to work with us? Let us know how we can help.

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Achieving Success in Diversity and Inclusion

In August, ASAE introduced the 2015-2017 Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan as well as new policies on religious diversity and accessibility. We asked the D + I Committee’s Immediate Past Chair and 2008-2009 DELP Scholar Mariama Boney to talk about their important work.

Association Advocacy Chick: What are some of the responsibilities for ASAE’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee?

Mariama Boney: For nearly 25 years, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee has promoted diversity and inclusion in association management, develop recommendations on how to make ASAE’s leadership and membership more diverse, and assisted ASAE with integrating diversity and inclusion into initiatives, education, or programs. The committee also coordinates the ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP).

AAC : Identify some of the most pressing issues for associations when it comes to D + I. 

MB: Some key and most pressing issues for associations include:

  1. Promoting an understanding of and celebrating the various generations and cultures that are working together.
  2. Creating and fostering inclusive environments for all cultural groups to work together effectively.
  3. Growing recruitment, retention and equity of multicultural groups in at all levels – in hiring, membership, and boards.

As associations, we have to be innovative and willing to do something different. We’ve been distracted by the same conversations we’ve been having for years. Association professional must broaden the conversation and move toward action. According to US Census estimates, by the year 2020, the most prominent changes in the US workforce will be in the demographic areas of age, gender, national origin and race/ethnicity. Yet, less than 30% of associations have a Diversity & Inclusion initiative and only 21% have a designated staff person responsible for staff and/or membership diversity & inclusion.

AAC: The D&I Committee developed a new strategic plan for 2015-2017. Talk about some of the key points and what goes into developing such a plan. 

MB: We used the principles of scan, plan, implement, evaluate. The process was 8 months from start to finish.

First, we clarified the terminology regarding diversity, inclusion, diversity + inclusion and cultural competence.

Second,  we reviewed and clarified ASAE’s Diversity and Inclusion statement. Next we worked with a consultant in a day-long session to identify successes, strengths and gaps as well as opportunities to build from the earlier 2012-14 plan created under the leadership of D&I Committee Past Chair, Oleathia Gadsden.

Out of that dialogue and data review, we worked with a consultant secured by ASAE to engage a diverse work group in a visioning dialogue and outlined the impact and accomplishments we wanted to see for ASAE and the association community in 3-5 years. The priorities include a focus on:

  • Resources and Recognition
  • Reach and Relevance
  • Talent Development
  • Relationship Development

Then, the consultant and ASAE Sr. Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Alexis Terry, placed our thoughts, ideas and priorities into a workable framework and organized the ideas into major themes which yielded the primary goals and action steps.

I worked with an awesome core group of DELP class liaisons to engage over 100 association leaders, the ASAE executive team, the work group and the D&I committee to review the initial draft and highlight critical gaps. Finally, edits were made and the plan was formatted into a reader friendly publication by ASAE’s marketing team.

AAC: The D&I Committee assisted with recommendations to address religious diversity and accessibility. What prompted these recommendations? 

MB: The recommendations which are now approved policies grew out of best prescribes and the experiences of some ASAE members. When opportunities arise to be better and serve ASAE members better through suggestions or complaints, we have to gather the facts, examine the experiences and pay attention so we can explore opportunities for advocacy which then yields change.

So, as the opportunities and best practices regarding interfaith issues and accessibility on meeting came to our attention we thought it important to bring some action via policy. You can find these recommendations here. Information on accessibility at ASAE meetings can be found here.

AAC: How does the work of the D&I Committee affect/impact ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program?

MB: The committee generated the concept of DELP nearly 15 years ago and has served as the coordinating group in partnership with ASAE staff with the selection of each DELP class and the program model. Program operations, logistics and implementation are managed  by ASAE  staff.

The committee reviews the program purpose, goals, marketing, program criteria, selection process and program components and make revisions annually. Since the program has been such a great success with 135 alumni, a DELP subcommittee of the D&I committee now focuses on alumni engagement.

AAC: What will make associations successful in diversity and inclusion for the future?

MB: Have a committed and trained executive leadership team. Equip them with the courage to go beyond being PC about equity, diversity and inclusion. In addition…

  1. Get the Data. Many associations don’t know their strengths and challenges, and opportunities regarding diversity and inclusion which is why the Association Inclusion Index is so important. It is only $199 and well worth the investment.
  2. Develop a plan. Include diversity and inclusion in the strategic plan and integrate it throughout the organization.
  3. Focus on Recruitment. Build a diverse workforce through multicultural outreach.
  4. Measure Retention. Implement professional development and foster inclusive environments to keep a thriving and diverse workforce.

ASAE also created a video highlighting the importance of D+I to the association community and how we as association professionals can take the necessary steps to develop and implement D+I strategies within our own organizations. Check it out today!

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#asae14 is over. Now what?

To recap #asae14, some sessions were great; Others not so much. People had particular feelings about the opening and closing sessions. Nashville pulled out all the stops to welcome attendees. We all had fun at parties, yadda, yadda, yadda.

But it’s all over now. The sessions. The networking. The receptions. So now what? Do we go back to work as if nothing happened? Obviously not. Here’s what we should do before the end of the month.

1. Follow up with those we promised to connect with. Schedule that coffee or lunch meeting. Don’t let those potential connections die off.

2. Submit your travel expense form. Don’t wait until the end of the year to take care of this. Your finance department will thank you for it.

3. Act on what you learned. Whether it was something you gained from a session or an idea discovered during lunch, make a plan to act on it. Don’t let those great ideas go to waste.

4. Start thinking about asae15. Maybe the Ignite session inspired you to submit a proposal. Or maybe the choir that performed during the closing session got you pumped for Detroit. Regardless of the reason, it’s never too early to think about the next ASAE annual meeting. If the typical annual meeting schedule holds, RFPs will open in November, a mere three months away.

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