Obama’s Grass Roots

Obama for America is working to transform its storied campaign organization into a continuing and powerful lobbying force for the Democratic president’s agenda. If all goes as planned, the new group – Organizing for America – will pressure members of Congress who fail to support President Barack Obama’s agenda in a grass-roots fashion akin to the most influential special-interest groups.

I talk about this issue more in an article I wrote for POLITICO. You can check it out here.

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Clever Grassroots Isn’t Always Ethical Grassroots

As my childhood hero Batman said, “Grassroots crime never pays”, or something like that.

See here for clever but disingenuous ways to get letters to Congress.

My prediction? Groups who voluntarily disclose their grassroots policies and practices (without giving away campaign secrets, of course) will engender stakeholder goodwill.

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Upcoming Supreme Court Decision: More Corporate Freedom of Speech?

Straight from our I2M 201O faculty member, Brett Kappell of Arent Fox, his take on the upcoming Citizens United case before the Supreme Court and what it may mean for corporate political decisions.

The Citizens United decision, assuming it ever comes down, could indeed have a profound impact on corporate government relations program. If the Supreme Court were to overturn Austin, both corporations and unions would be able to use money in their general treasury funds ...

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How to Manage Your CEO’s Expectations of an Internal Grassroots Program

If grassroots is the best way to impact the legislative process, why do so many grassroots professionals experience so much angst when they need internal cooperation for their efforts? I believe it is because there are numerous tacit expectations of any internal program, expectations that very few in the organization clarify or review as a program is developed. The result? Frustration, stagnation and lack of momentum, to name just a few.

Our frustrations will lessen if we learn and manage ...

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Amy’s Grassroots Lobbying Advice

Cincinnati Biz Courier

Be nice and be dispassionate.

Check out my article, as featured in the Cincinnati Business Courier.

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How to Increase Quality Participation at Your Annual Lobby Day

Annual “Lobby Day” or Capitol Hill “Fly-Ins” are ubiquitous events with lots of legislator and constituent interaction. For purposes of this article, I’ll refer to them as “lobby days”. It’s important for grassroots volunteers to see their legislator “on the job,” and to learn that their lawmaker is indeed human.

In spite of the tremendous benefits, I have observed that the participation rates are much lower than in the past. Organization members cite the universal “I don’t have time” rationale. There ...

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Social Loafing

We’ve all been on a team where 20 percent of the team members do 80 percent of the work – a few board members recruit for the PAC, a couple of organizations in your coalition make the effort to mobilize their members on an important issue, or one member of your GR staff reviews and edits the department’s Web site.

I grew up on a farm, and there are great lessons from the farm. A German agricultural engineer named Max Ringelmann ...

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PAC Reporting

Greetings Innovators,

According to our Innovate to Motivate® faculty member, Brett Kappel of Arent Fox, when a corporate PAC has the corporation’s accounting department – rather than PAC professionals – handle the PAC’s FEC reporting duties, the result isn’t pretty. See here:

See the full I2M 2010 conference agenda and register online at

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Amyism #59

Astroturf Lobbying: When you can’t convince your own stakeholders to support your issues, and you have to pay someone else to gin up grassroots support, wouldn’t that be one of many red flags about your message, messenger, or culture?

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Free Enterprise Campaign

As you know, sometimes I like to publish the email threads of my colleague, Dr. Kelton Rhoads and I, on whatever intrigues us at the moment. Here’s the latest on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and their free enterprise campaign.

Amy: I see that the US Chamber is launching a campaign to promote the free enterprise system. Sound familiar? Weren’t you advising them to do something like that back in 2007?

Kelton: It’s interesting all right. A few months ago I heard ...

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