Believing that what motivates a particular organizations’ PAC eligibles to join the PAC will motivate our organization has always intrigued me, and not in a positive way. Be wary of any generic “Motivating PAC Messages” workshops or consulting packages. Context is paramount in any successful influence campaign. The motivation depends on the environment, the organizational climate, the political climate, and with some PAC audiences, whether they are having a bad hair day or a bad horoscope.
“This is the number-one influence mistake,” said Kelton Rhoads, Ph.D. “Everybody knows you are supposed to focus on the mindset of the audience, and not on the mindset of the persuader, but people still do it in droves! The key is to conduct good audience research and find out how the audience is thinking. This isn’t startling advice, I know, but it’s so widely ignored that it gets my number-one position for the most common influence error.”
Emily Diedrich Foster, PAC Manager and Washington Representative at Cummins, Inc., also started a PAC in a company with no corporate political involvement history. She and her team adroitly recognized that the most persuasive message to senior managers was the impact that the government relations environment, process, and pending legislation would have on corporate results.
Do you know what motivates your PAC audience? It’s different for each employee group and managerial level. Too many government relations professionals hear what a colleague at another organization did to motivate PAC contributions and have copied it for their company or association. It’s like Courtney Love conducting the New York Philharmonic. There’s no fit.