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?



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.

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.

Out of Office Message

To: You

From: Me

Re: Out of Office

As of Friday December 21, I will be out of the office for the rest of the year. 2012 has been busy, thrilling, tiring, upsetting and fulfilling all at the same time. Association Advocacy Chick continues to grow slowly, but surely. My iPad toolkit for lobbyists post was republished and circulated widely within the advocacy community. I gave 14 presentations for APA, ASAE, IgniteDC and other organizations. I witnessed some friends reach new heights in their careers while others were unceremoniously laid off. I made new contacts and reconnected with old friends. I faced unexpected challenges that forced me to reexamine, change and improve the quality of my life. And I fell in love 🙂

With all this excitement, it’s time to take a break. I want to know what 8 hours of sleep feel like. I want to eat more than one cookie at any given point. I want to go shopping at 1 pm on a Wednesday. I used to refuse to take time off during the holidays because I didn’t want to be away from the office. If I haven’t learned anything else this year, it’s that work is no longer #1 on my list. I love my job, but I love my family, friends and health a lot more.

So during this holiday season where we have witnessed both evil and good, I want to thank you for continuing to support this blog. I love having Association Advocacy Chick as an outlet when I can’t express myself in 140 characters or less. Whether you’re a regular reader or lurked from time to time, thank you for taking the time to read my blog, share my posts and offer a comment. I hope this holiday season brings you all that your heart desires and then some. See you in 2013!


How I stopped leaning on notes and started learning to trust myself

Looking back over 2012, I’ve done a number of presentations spanning from advocacy to  middle children. Whenever I prepare for a presentation, I start by drafting notes. Notes are a great way to organize your thoughts and ensure that you stay on topic. Recently, I was asked to give remarks to student members in town for a visit. As usual, I sat down and sketched out what I wanted to say. When I was done, I had crafted a nice one-pager of bullet points organized by subject matter. And that’s when it hit me.

During the actual presentation, I rarely use my notes. I would either abandon them after the first five minutes or some “technical glitch” would occur preventing me from accessing them. In fact, I’ve spent more time developing notes than actually using them. My notes became my security blanket because I thought I needed them.

Now, does this mean I should stop drafting notes? No. Writing notes is still the best way for me to prepare for a presentation. However, once it’s showtime, I should probably continue to ignore them.