Congratulations to the DELP class of 2014-2016! Soon you will meet in DC to receive a formal orientation on all things DELP and ASAE. Afterwards, your class will travel to Detroit to meet your fellow DELPers for our annual reunion. There will be some laughs, some happy tears, some learning and a lot of fun! Before we get there, let me share a few words of wisdom with you.
1. DELP is what you make it. Give some thought to what you want the next two years and beyond to look like. Do you have a specific career goal in mind? Do you aspire to ASAE leadership? Whatever it is, put yourself in the mindset to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you through DELP.
2. To Whom Much Is Given, Much Will Be Required. You will gain so much from DELP: professional development, networking opportunities, and new contacts just to name a few. As DELP scholars, we are to volunteer on boards and committees; write for ASAE and other publications; present at conferences and offer their time and talents as needed.
3. Prepare to have your life forever changed. You may think you just applied for a professional development program. You didn’t. You joined a family of high achievers who look out for each other. We bring out the best in each other. When one succeeds, we all succeed. By the end of the weekend, you will gain over 100 brothers and sisters who will understand your challenges and help you find solutions.
So newbies, get ready. This is the start of a long, successful journey. See you in The D!
The Washington Post recently published an article about the changing landscape of lobbying. The article highlighted lobbying firms in the DC area who are shaking up their approach to Capitol Hill. One group models their operation after tech companies including open workspaces and compensation structure. Another ended the practice of billable hours. One firm uses social media to highlight important issues. For lobbying firms with traditional corporate structures, hierarchies and big corner offices, these examples are somewhat radical. However, they speak to a new reality: Lobbying is changing. What can the association government relations community learn from these examples?
Don’t be afraid to try new things
Holland and Knight is a law firm with over 1,000 lawyers and lobbyists working across the US and around the world. Like many law firms with a lobbying practice, lobbyists must keep track of billable hours. In 2012, Holland and Knight eliminated that practice in their public policy shop. This gave their lobbyists the freedom to work with their clients without fretting over time sheets and other administrative matters. While associations don’t have to worry about billable hours, there are others structures in place that limit your lobbyists’ work including a culture of department silos.
Stop pretending that social media doesn’t matter
Chamber Hill Strategies is a Small Business Administration-certified women-owned (!) lobbying firm. During a recent advocacy campaign, one of the co-founders approached congressional staff with a simple ask: bring attention to a specific issue using Twitter. Days later, a Member of Congress tweeted a message to his 2400+ followers. While this tactic may not work for everyone and every issue, it once again demonstrates the value of social media for advocacy.