Lessons from Thieves

I had some property stolen. Intellectual property, that is. As a company that conducts and distributes original research, we get ripped off now and then. “Ripped off” meaning that people use our material without attribution or, in the most egregious example of intellectual miniaturization, they present it as their own material. I take this very, very seriously.

The Plagiarizer as Teacher

Recently, a consultant blatantly took content from my 105 Ways to Build Relationships Your Legislators booklet and ...

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Quick Tips for PAC and Grassroots Goal Setting

1. Be firm on your results, rather than the activities to get the results. I find that very successful people are firm about their intended results, and flexible on the process to achieve the results. Less successful people are firm about the process and flexible on the results.

2. Work backwards from your envisioned goal. Planning is taking what you have and generating activities. Strategy is working backwards from your envisioned goal.

3. Create implementation metrics and accountabilities.

4. Determine the level of ...

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Why have a PAC?

This is why…

Innovate to Motivate faculty member Brett Kappel weighs in on new research from Vanderbilt University:

The research finds that corporations gain clear financial benefits when individual employees make political donations.

What they describe in a new research paper is strong evidence that individuals who make political donations – whether at the behest of companies or not – directly benefit businesses in their communities.

“The reason we looked at individual contributions is because it accounts for about two-thirds of all ...

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How an Association’s Government Relations Shop Can Get More Respect

This is a real challenge for many organizations. I know of several prominent national associations that have a huge government relations staff and budget. They are competent and highly professional, but they admitted to me that their Board does not know what they do for the association.

No one is going to seek out ways to recognize your department’s work. You have to get in front of your Board, get on their meeting agenda as often as you can, and tell ...

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Change Management

For any government relations professional who must establish or reinvigorate their PAC, they are essentially in the change management field. This is a management discipline unto itself, but many neglect the importance of working the seams of change. The PAC then de-orbits and becomes a former “program of the month.”

Success in creating change is rooted in respect for the resistance to it. Mary Schell, Vice President of Government Affairs at Wendy’s International, Inc., started her PAC from scratch in 2003. ...

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Why Everyone Needs Grassroots

Quite simply, local, state and federal governments make decisions that impact what kind of schools we have, how much we pay in taxes, what kind of health care we’re going to have, what kind of cars we can buy and drive, and what kind of energy we should use. The beauty of this arrangement is that elected officials listen to their constituents because they all want to be re-elected and to do that, they need votes, so they tend to listen ...

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Even More Immutable Truths About Grassroots and PAC Leadership

Even more “immutable truths” I have observed.

  • Be authentic with your colleagues and volunteers. You are alive when you are real, and you die when you are faking it.
  • Your anxieties are trying to teach you something.
  • The truth is your friend, even when you don’t “like” it.
  • Your PAC and grassroots programs’ strengths are also their vulnerabilities.
  • In any conflict, there are options. Present them so that your foe does not “lose.”
  • Learn from your mistakes, and be a genius by learning and profiting from ...
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“May I Help You?”

One technique for building relationships is to find ways to help the “big dog” you want to influence. Joel Ulland, who represents the Minnesota Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society before the Minnesota state legislature, built a relationship with an unlikely person of power long before he needed the relationship.

Ulland is a member of several coalitions for Minnesotans with disabilities. In the spring of 2005, Minnesota was reeling through three years of budget cuts. Ulland knew this meant tough times ...

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Mixing Business and Politics

You may have seen the recent research from the University of Tennessee, in which Russell Crook, David Woehr and Sean Lux have found that yes, indeed, mixing business and politics makes good financial sense. Continue Reading →

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

In Part 1 of this article, we found that they all practice the following:

  • Intrepid accountability
  • “The first sale is to yourself”
  • An internal marketing strategy
  • Attention to the launch

I wish I could gleefully report that we could push the proverbial “easy button” to secure permanent increases in resources and staff support. Alas, there isn’t one. In addition to the above factors, we found even more success indicators among our “85% Club” members.

Securing Internal Champions

Most of us are aware of the cardinal rule of ...

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