I am not an innovator.
Correction: I have been convinced that I cannot be an innovator.
If you were to play word association with advocacy, I’m sure innovation is not the word you’d come up with. But why is that? Many associations insist that it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Yes, traditional lobbying, grassroots advocacy, and political involvement are effective ways of moving or defeating legislation. However, what if there’s a way to make those methods even better? Fly-ins are great, but expensive. Political action committees are prohibited for many cases. What does that mean for the in-house lobbyist who needs to convince a few key people to support their legislation?
This is why innovation is necessary for association government relations. At some point, with all the competition for Congress’ attention and limited resources, the traditional methods will no longer be enough. We have a great opportunity to cut through the clutter and have our voices heard. However, we must be open to using social media. We must rethink the strategy of flooding the Hill with form letters. We must be willing to look outside our rock stars and leadership for grassroots advocates. If Congress can become increasingly creative in the way they do their work (can you say Super Committee?), why can’t we?