From Resistance to Resources: How to Gain Internal Support, Status and Money for Your Grassroots and PAC Programs: Part Two

The First Sale is to Yourself

Staff who are able to get more money and resources for their programs believe passionately in their mission. Remember, the first sale is always to yourself.

I was asked by a client to help coach her through a very important presentation to one of her organization’s highest governing bodies. We collaborated on her new five-year strategic grassroots development plan, and this group needed to approve the general plan direction. However, they had never heard a grassroots ...

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From Resistance to Resources: How to Gain Internal Support, Status and Money for Your Grassroots and PAC Programs: Part One

Why do some government affairs departments, specifically grassroots and PAC operations, consistently get increased budget funding and staff resources while others struggle to justify their existence? We track our clients’ results, and what we found was startling.

After the conclusion of our collaborations, over 85% of our consulting clients have experienced long-term funding increases, increased staff resources, and enhanced internal status for their grassroots program and/or PAC. So, in hot pursuit of the truth, I wanted to find out what some ...

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The Top 7 Things Your Grassroots Advocates Don’t Want to Hear

In the interest of equal time, here are my thoughts relative to my grassroots compatriots. These are my favorites, not in any particular order. I provide these because words matter.

How we talk about grassroots sends clear signals to our volunteers as to what’s possible, and most important, our attitude toward them. These tips may help you to avoid the “trial and terror” approach to grassroots recruiting.

Drum roll, please. . .

1. “When we contact you to communicate with your legislator, it ...

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The Top 9 Things Your PAC Prospects Don’t Want to Hear

Based on my experience in delivering actual PAC fundraising appeals, as well as interviewing corporate employees and association members, here is my list of the top 9 most uninfluential and uninspiring ways to make your PAC pitch. These apply to oral, written, and web content communications.

Keep it nearby when you are preparing your remarks for your next PAC membership drive, because you can, safely and without the supervision of a trained professional, try these techniques on your own.

1. “You need ...

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The Ultimate Motivator: Part 4

Negative Communications

If we are truly grassroots professionals, we should embrace “bottom up” communications. Many times our messages only asking them to do something for us, or tell them what they should not be doing, saying, thinking, etc. It is important to be a carrier of good news. It affects how we are seen in the organization and how much time our advocates will give us in the future.

People attribute negative personal characteristics to those who bring us bad news, regardless ...

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The Ultimate Motivator: Part 3

Without trust in the leader and the organization’s purpose, it is very difficult to get people to join your grassroots cause or contribute to your PAC.

The enemies of trust I outlined in part one of this article include:
• Regular grassroots and PAC underperformance
• Misplaced loyalty
• Direction changes
• Failure to trust others

There are more enemies of trust. In this concluding article I will review the four remaining trust blockers and the questions you must ask of yourself ...

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Trust – The Ultimate Grassroots and PAC Motivator: Part 2

Misplaced Loyalty

Whether it’s defending your advocates to badly behaving legislators, or helping them navigate internal organizational land mines, we must demonstrate loyalty to engender trust.

Unfortunately, I still hear stories of legislators who treat grassroots advocates worse than their mother– in – law. Many of us have witnessed condescending behavior and overt animus toward constituents during our Capitol Hill and State House lobby day events.

We can’t prevent lousy legislator behavior, but we can defend our advocates when we witness the behavior, ...

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How to Avoid the Tripping Point During Your Advocate Hill and State House Visits: Part Two

Utilizing the Science of Influence – For Advocates and Professional Lobbyists

There are scores of tools in the influence toolbox, and the savvy agent knows how to use the right tool for a particular client and situation. That said, we’ve noticed that there are some tools that work particularly well for political advocacy across a range of situations. Among them are trust building, proximity, metaphor, and narrative.

Trust building is the essential ingredient in credibility, but it’s a skill that’s often overlooked ...

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How to Avoid the Tripping Point and Maximize Your Advocate Hill and State House Visits: Part One

Grassroots advocate Hill visits are a necessary activity for groups who are serious about impacting the legislative process. Why don’t these opportunities create raging grassroots thunder advocates? Why don’t the visits result in converted legislators?

To make an impression with our advocates and legislators, we must go beyond the stultifyingly boring “dos and dont’s” of legislative communications and empower our advocates to influence, rather than present, the organization’s position and their personal story to their legislator. However, many groups stubbornly cling ...

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Starting a Grassroots Employee Network

Memo to corporate and business leaders who want to wield a bigger stick in the political arena: Start a grassroots employee network. Most politically active companies hire lobbyists and make political contributions. But the most effective companies use politically engaged employee networks to supplement that work and bring their corporate activism to the next level.

The first step is educating your workforce about your company’s top legislative priorities. Teach your employees how to lobby their elected officials and create opportunities for ...

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