Grassroots & PAC Advocate Workshops

The Underdog Edge: What it Is, How to Get It, and Why You Need It for Advocacy Success

Based on Amy’s research with legislators whose minds were changed by “ordinary” constituents in The Underdog Edge (Morgan James) ,, Amy shares the principals behind over 50 upward influence tactics that will help your grassroots volunteers stand above the “yaktivists.” In this workshop, you’ll learn:

• The “upside of under:” why underdogs have such persuasive power
• How to develop underdog “street cred”
• The one tactic you must use if you want to change a powerful person’s mind
• Why hurting yourself impacts powerful people
• Why showing passion for your cause actually dooms your request  when influencing up (except when two conditions are present)
• The importance of grit in influence campaigns and how to develop personal and team grit
• The three characteristics of underdog teams that make their team members more persuasive than their opponents

Read what people are saying about The Underdog Edge workshops here.

The Purposeful PAC®

Are you tired of a lackluster response to your PAC recruitment presentations, letters, and emails? Are the same patriotic clichés failing to inspire involvement? Does your PAC website serve as an advertisement rather then a recruiting tool?

The Purposeful PAC® incorporates scientifically tested methods of persuasion to increase not only your PAC receipts but also emotional allegiance to your cause.

Each time we are hired to deliver this content, clients experience at least a 50 percent increase in PAC receipts and/or participation. (See the comments below for more client results)

We can custom design and deliver a Purposeful PAC® presentation for you, or train your staff and/or volunteer PAC recruiters to deliver our custom-designed presentation.

“As a result of your “Principles of PAC Persuasion” presentation, our average individual PAC contribution jumped 300%! I attribute this to the solid ethical persuasion skills our members gleaned from your talk.” –Holly Reed, Coordinator, Political Affairs, Connecticut Association of Realtors

“What a great program! You connected very well with our members. The evaluations from our attendees have been very positive.” –Derenda Updegrave, Government Affairs Director, Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS

“Thank you for speaking at our National RPAC Conference. Our State chapter members and staff have not stopped talking about your presentation regarding the science of persuasion and how it relates to PAC fundraising.” –John E. Ferruggiaro, National Association of Realtors

“Even though our PAC is the largest in the state, and our members certainly know how to sell, we continuously seek to improve our RPAC fundraising efforts. Our members raved about Amy's scientific persuasion approach to fundraising because it works for PAC fundraising, and for any sales situation.” – Jim Hilz, Director, Government Affairs, Ohio Association of Realtors (formerly), President, BIA Central Ohio

“Amy – you're a star! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with our group as they work to become the next generation of women leaders in government.” –The Honorable Betty Montgomery, The JoAnn Davidson Leadership Institute

Grassroots and PAC Volunteer Keynote: In It to Win It: The Mental Attitudes of Superior Grassroots and PAC Advocates

There are some grassroots and PAC volunteers who have been at it for years and never grow weary. They always engage, they communicate the right message to the right legislator at the right time, and they develop meaningful relationships with their elected representatives. They are the ones who allow staff members to sleep at night. How do they differ from other advocates? What’s their secret for staying motivated?

Because Amy conducts highly customized workshops, she has interviewed hundreds of these high performers and knows what makes them stand out among the “yaktivists” – the volunteers who make a lot of noise with little results. She integrates their actual triumphs and trials into an entertaining, funny, encouraging, and motivational keynote. It’s great for sending your advocates back to the district (or to the Hill or State House) with a renewed sense of purpose, focus, and motivation.

After hearing Amy, your volunteers will want to stay in it to win it.

"We have hired Amy numerous times for our annual Key Contact training event. On our program's 10-year anniversary, we asked her back to present a special motivational talk to our experienced Key Contacts, as well as our "rookie" volunteers. I heard so many great comments about her talk. Our employees are naturally motivated and enthusiastic, but Amy took it up a notch so that our veterans and rookies alike walked away with renewed energy and dedication to their tasks.", –Lori Cherry, Manager, Legislative Awareness, Southwest Airlines

Next Level Grassroots Advocate and PAC Recruiter Development

"Our advocates are very diverse in capabilities and experience, which requires an innovative approach to advocacy training and motivation. Amy is able to bring a pragmatic, baseline understanding of advocacy to new folks, while energizing old hands with new ideas and insight -- not an easy task. Our Board members loved Amy's approach to understanding legislative motivation and achieving success in advocacy. Amy is a ball of energy!", –Renee Cummings, Director Membership & Grassroots Development, AOPHA

There are lots of “entry-level” advocacy and PAC training workshops. We are known for our ability to bring an advanced level of information and capabilities to experienced advocates, and to accelerate the progress of new advocates. We specialize in catapulting “stuck” grassroots advocates and PAC recruiters to be better, quicker, and more influential when communicating with their influence prospects.

It’s one thing to teach your advocates how to communicate with legislators. We teach them how to influence legislators. We don’t believe that influencing legislators and PAC prospects is a “soft skill.” There is a science to influence, and we incorporate the latest scientific findings with real world stories, a multi-media approach, and application exercises to maximize the learning and entertainment factor necessary in all engagements.

Our grassroots advocate and PAC recruiter development services include workshops, keynote speeches, and consulting collaborations.

"I have been to numerous grassroots/advocacy training seminars and they tend to be advocacy 101 with little or no information from which to grow or improve your grassroots network. You presented new ideas, new ways of looking at the familiar and new ways to think creatively about the challenges of keeping our grassroots advocates informed and interested in participating in our agenda.”, –Jane Weirich, Regional Advocacy Manager, American Cancer Society

“You are the real deal! Your PAC workshop was one of the best presentations I've ever heard. Informative, and filled with energy and new ideas. You were a big hit with our members, and you will definitely be invited back.”, –Barbara McConnell, Executive Director, Food Industry Association Executives

Positioning Yourself for Influence Success: Secrets of High-Performing Advocates that are Safe for Everyday Use

The ultimate goal of any advocacy effort is not just to advocate and educate, but to successfully persuade your legislator to support issues vital to your industry or profession. To achieve this, your advocates must stand out from the more than 10,000 other interest groups registered to lobby the U.S. Congress and state legislatures.

In this workshop, you’ll learn the communications and influence tactics used by the most effective grassroots advocates and professional lobbyists, all supported by the latest social science research as to what really works. . . . and, you can use these ethical influence tactics in your daily work and personal lives.

"What Amy taught us can be used in any environment; with co-workers, family members, and customers. I was taking lots of notes and could have listened to her for two more hours.", –Joan Coleman, President, AT&T Kentucky

Do you know. . . . .

  • Why “passion” for your issue makes you a less persuasive advocate?
  • The role empathy plays in winning over your legislator, and how to demonstrate it?
  • The 3 pillars of credibility that determine whether a legislator is really listening to you?
  • The #1 reason competent, articulate advocates become less persuasive when talking with a legislator? (and how to overcome it)
  • The way to quickly build trust with lawmakers?
  • Why relationships are the “gold standard” of influence?
  • Over 30 ways to build relationships with your lawmakers?
  • Why “being nice” gives you an influence edge?
  • The #1 obstacle to building good relationships with legislative staff, and how to overcome it?
  • How appealing to your lawmaker’s desire for personal consistency can favorably persuade them?
  • How to leverage the legislators’ personal and political context in your favor?
  • How to become the “go to” person for your legislator on your issues, even if you disagree with him or her on most issues?
  • The 10 mental attitudes of superior grassroots advocates?

If you want to learn how to be a more influential advocate (and person) join us for this workshop. You won’t look at grassroots advocacy the same way again.

"I have been a member for six years and have never heard anything like this. The importance of using stories to influence legislators was very valuable. Amy is passionate, well-informed, and uses diverse ways of presenting information. Loved the humor!", –Janice Hacker, Kentucky School Board Association, Kenton County Board of Education Member

Till Death Do Us Part - 105 Ways to Build Relationships with Your Elected Officials

Learn why relationships are the platinum standard of influence, and how to build a credible relationship beyond just attending fundraisers and fly-ins.

"I have always been very active in politics by holding fundraisers in my home. I really did not think that I would have a lot to learn from this workshop. However, Amy has such a unique way of presenting new information. I gained new insights that will make me even more effective in building relationships with my elected officials.", –Joy Myers, National Audubon Society

How to Survive and Thrive in a Crowded Room

Stop watching your advocates huddle together at political events. Teach them how to maximize their time at every event, be comfortable, stay on message and have fun.

Influencing “Up” the Legislative Food Chain*

Upward influence is difficult, especially when you’re trying to persuade busy, powerful lawmakers to support your cause. This presentation is for political and grassroots activists who need to influence their legislators. It covers:

  • Establishing a relationship with the legislator;
  • Finding points of similarity;
  • Guarding and enhancing your advocacy’s credibility;
  • How the legislator is likely to think about your issue, and the “triggers” that will place him or her in your corner (or the opposition’s);
  • Necessary checklists to review before approaching the legislator.

*Scientific influence workshops delivered with Kelton Rhoads, Ph.D.