Showalter Group

political action committees

a valuable resource to organizations that want to improve their PAC and grassroots effectiveness

What We Do:

Political Action Committees

Three Reasons Your PAC Communications Don’t Persuade People to Contribute

PAC fundraising best practices, such as peer to peer recruitment, senior management support, etc., are well known among seasoned PAC professionals. Yet, the average PAC participation rate has stayed in the 18%-33% range for the last 15 years (BIPAC). With the proliferation of PAC fundraising best practices, why isn’t PAC participation at 90%? I believe it’s because the rationale for joining the PAC is poorly developed and does not take into consideration the science of PAC persuasion. We believe your PAC can and should be more than a conduit to distribute candidate contributions. It can have a purpose — a purpose that creates greater understanding of the risks in your external operating environment, and the motivations of opposing special interest groups, which leads to…greater emotional allegiance to your organization.

We believe your PAC can and should be more than a conduit to distribute candidate campaign funds. It can have a purpose — a purpose that creates greater understanding of the risks in your external operating environment, and the motivations of opposing special interest groups, which leads to…greater emotional allegiance to your organization.

Read about TSG’s Purposeful PAC® philosophy here.

Evidence-Based PAC Fundraising Approach Results in Corporate PAC Fundraising That Routinely Exceeds Fundraising Goals

Despite major corporate restructuring, the International Paper PAC was growing. Many PAC professionals would congratulate themselves on this accomplishment and move on. Not IP—in spite of their success, the team realized that to grow the PAC, it had to be integrated into the culture in diverse facilities across the country.

“You have been a big part of our success – keeping us sharp, challenged and motivated.
We couldn’t do it without you and Kelton!”

Meghan Killion Joyce

Manager, Political Affairs, International Paper

The Solution

The hallmarks of IP’s PAC success are their research-based approach to PAC fundraising, rigorous post-campaign research, and a high degree of collaboration between the Government Affairs team and the PAC Board of Directors.

We have joined forces with the IP team over the years, which have included the following interventions and results:

  • Designing and deploying research to determine what predicts that an IP PAC prospect will or will not give at the new suggested giving guidelines. The inferential statistical analysis allows the IP team to create precise messaging that encourages guideline giving, because we are now able to predict future PAC prospect behavior.
  • Conducting a PAC awareness and message retention survey to uncover the level of general PAC awareness in various facilities across the country. The result? New messages were integrated into the fundraising campaign, and the campaign exceeded the goal by 137% in a down economy.
  • Conducting a statistical analysis of the behaviors of the most successful peer to peer PAC recruiters and instituting those as best practices for a broad PAC fundraising campaign. The result? The next PAC campaign garnered over 600 new contributors, the goal was exceeded by 154%, and there was a 27% annual increase in receipts.
  • Facilitating a PAC board strategic planning session that encouraged the Board members to jointly determine their fundraising goals and approach, thus maximizing their buy-in.
  • Using our Purposeful PAC ™ methodology, we designed a new power point presentation and delivered training workshops to equip over 150 PAC Champions to recruit their colleagues to join the PAC.

“Amy’s approach works! Our board members said the strategic planning session was the best meeting they ever attended.  We now have board member ownership of the PAC fundraising process through personal accountability, goals, and group metrics. Despite a tough economy, we have routinely exceeded our fundraising goals.  As we continue to collaborate with Amy and Dr. Rhoads, our PAC has grown from $789,000.00 per cycle to over $1.3 million per cycle.”

Meghan Killion Joyce

Manager, Political Affairs, International Paper

Successful PAC Gains Over 500 New Members via Tested PAC Messages & PAC Ambassador Narrative Development

The largest pharmaceutical industry PAC engaged us to investigate issues with PAC contributor attrition. The staff knew that organizational restructuring had an impact, but not to what degree or how to mitigate that very real impact on PAC fundraising. They engaged us to develop a persuasive messaging strategy to prevent further membership erosion.

We conducted message testing research among five business units which revealed salient messages that were unique to each unit. The team used them to increase PAC participation by over 500 new members in only 4 months.

We also created PAC recruitment materials for senior organization leaders, PAC Ambassadors, and the PAC web site. PAC Ambassador narrative training was conducted to equip the Ambassadors to confidently and persuasively ask their peers to join the PAC. We also served in an ongoing consultative role relative to all PAC operations and strategy.

“I’ve been at Pfizer 30 years, so I’ve heard it all. I’ve been to a lot of training workshops. This is one of the, if not the, best one I’ve ever attended. Thank you so much! “

Carol Mazin

Sr. Professional Healthcare Consultant, Pfizer Labs

Amy knew our challenges went beyond basic PAC recruitment tactics and off the shelf solutions…  “Historically we have experienced strong PAC results, but with major legislative issues on the horizon, we anticipated a need to bolster our efforts. I interviewed many PAC consultants who told me what I already knew: that we “needed a peer to peer campaign” (which we had executed in the past). Amy knew that the challenges went beyond basic PAC recruitment tactics and common off the shelf solutions. We integrated a scientific approach to uncovering the reasons our PAC eligibles do and don’t contribute to the PAC. We now know what works and what doesn’t when communicating about the PAC, as well as how to build goodwill with our contributors.”

Ken Hiscoe

Director/Team Leader, Political Affairs, Pfizer, Inc.

Making the Best Better: 800% Growth in PAC Receipts

The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB) membership represents the top 1% of insurance brokerages in the country, and their PAC is the largest in the insurance industry. Despite their success, they consistently look for ways to raise the bar and improve their fundraising results.

We have collaborated with them on PAC recruiting influence audits, communications materials and ongoing advisory services. We most recently executed our Velocity Research & Analytics methods to determine the factors that predict CIAB member PAC contributions.

Due to their consistent application of principles gleaned during our collaboration and never-ending pursuit of excellence, they have experienced 800% increase in PAC funds from the 2006 through 2022 election cycles.

We joined forces to:

  • Conduct an Influence Audit of existing PAC recruiting materials and provide recommendations on how to increase their PAC Influence Quotient (PIQ)
  • Designed a PAC recruitment presentation that focused on influencing members and creating emotional allegiance to the PAC
  • Provide ongoing counsel to staff on PAC foundational issues, including, but not limited to: additional PAC recruitment methods, regular PAC communications, PAC branding options, PAC promotional materials, overall campaign strategy and planning, PAC metrics and reporting mechanisms.

Fundraising acceleration despite difficult economy “Although we have the largest PAC in our industry, today’s political climate requires that we have the most accurate information as possible regarding how our members think about political engagement and PACs. Amy and Kelton’s research methodology helped us adjust our PAC messages to gain engagement from new and younger CIAB members, which is critical for any association wishing to expand their pool of contributors. Despite a difficult economic environment, our fundraising results are ahead of last year at this time.”

Gracie Gerlach

Vice President and Associate General Counsel, The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers

PAC Creation and Integration into the Corporate Culture

Buffalo Wild Wings is the nation’s fastest growing restaurant chain. Increased challenges in the external environment necessitated the development of a Government Relations program, including a vibrant Political Action Committee.

We have partnered with BWW on all aspects of PAC development and integration, including:

  • Focus groups and message testing among top PAC prospects
  • Development of PAC brand and mission statement
  • Board of Directors role description and communications
  • Creation of PAC contribution criteria
  • Development of PAC web site and site maintenance
  • Creation of fundraising collateral, including pee to peer presentation content
  • Regular PAC member communications
  • Candidate contribution research
  • Talking points for BWW CEO at PAC events

BWW’s PAC is unique in that we collaborated with the Government Relations team to integrate their Franchisee network into prominent leadership positions within the PAC management structure. This enabled the PAC to go from zero to over $250,000.00 in receipts in less than one election cycle.

“We hired Amy as we built our government relations capacity. We went from no PAC to raising over a quarter of a million dollars in our first election cycle. Most important, her research-based consulting approach allowed us to align the government relations function with the corporate and Franchisee community cultures. As a result, we have a strong foundation of corporate and Franchisee cooperation with our government relations work, as well as the PAC and grassroots programs. We’ve been recognized for our leadership on key industry issues, and most important, more legislators seek out our opinion on issues important to our industry.”

David Langefels

Vice President, Risk Management & Government Relations, Buffalo Wild Wings®

Evidence-Based Messaging Audit Aligns PAC Fundraising Messages

The Ohio Realtors® has the largest association Political Action Committee in Ohio, and an extremely robust legislative affairs program. Like our most of our Velocity Research clients, they already do many things well —– their legislative brand is strong, their volunteer leaders are organized and active, and they achieve many of their legislative goals.

The REALTORS Political Action Committee (RPAC) is sustained through local fundraising events as well as Realtor peer to peer engagement. The uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the External Affairs team to examine RPAC fundraising messages, messengers, and tactics, as they wanted to safeguard the RPAC fundraising momentum and fundraiser morale during a very difficult environment.

The TSG Collaboration

In partnership with the National Association of Realtors, the External Affairs team asked us to conduct our Velocity Research analysis. We partnered with the staff to create customized questions that integrated the independent variables that can affect whether someone becomes an RPAC Investor. The research findings included descriptive statistics, univariate correlations, and inferential data regarding the messages, messengers and fundraising context that is associated with contributing (or not contributing) to RPAC, and those that predict becoming an RPAC contributor.

Our analysis revealed 15 independent variables that are correlated with becoming an RPAC contributor, and six that predict RPAC membership. The team now knows:

  • The type of RPAC communication that is the most persuasive
  • The most persuasive RPAC messenger
  • The legislative issues that are popular v. those that truly motivate RPAC contributions
  • The least effective way to introduce a member to RPAC; using this tactic predicts being an RPAC non-contributor
  • The RPAC “disengagement tipping point” – if a member stops investing in RPAC, we know when that is most likely to occur
  • The fundraising environment that predicts whether a member will invest in RPAC

This level of member understanding provides the staff with messaging precision,  and that precision leads to fundraising acceleration.

“I wanted to follow up and let you know what a great success the research study you oversaw has been. I’ve been asked to present to my state peers insights on what we found through your high levels of data analysis. In addition, the resulting PAC contribution scorecard and rankings were presented to our Trustees and the feedback has been incredible. This has resulted in the most educated, informed and engaged RPAC Trustees we have seen.”
Scott Williams

CEO, Ohio Realtors®

Reached PAC Fundraising Goal a Year Early via Message Testing & Executive Leader PAC Narrative Development

The Cardinal Health PAC has excellent support from senior Cardinal leaders.. However, their overall PAC receipts were stalled, and Cardinal’s marketplace competitors were raising more PAC funds. To be consistent with their market position, the Cardinal Health Government Affairs team recognized the need to exceed the PAC fundraising progress of their industry competitors. A critical aspect of reaching the goal was to uncover the most persuasive PAC messages, and to help Cardinal leaders become visible PAC evangelists.

We deployed our Velocity Data Analytics methodology which tests messages in a competitive environment. We uncovered eight distinguishing PAC variables that predict whether someone will contribute to the Cardinal PAC, and to what degree. For example, their team now knows that someone who was first exposed to the PAC in a particular manner is 60% more likely to contribute than someone not familiarized to the PAC via that medium and/or messenger. This knowledge allows the Government Affairs team to accurately integrate the proper medium and messengers to accelerate their fundraising.

We created a PAC narrative guide that allowed each executive to create their own personal story about the importance of political and PAC engagement. The guide made it easier for them to create employee PAC awareness. . . .and they reached their fundraising goal a year early.

Reached PAC Goal a Year Early

“We received great feedback on the narrative messages that you helped us create, especially your coaching on how our executives can use their personal stories to encourage more PAC participation.  We surpassed our current year goal and reached our new goal a year in advance!  We are so excited to have elevated the PAC to new levels and brought so much awareness to the PAC and to our Government Relations Department.”

“It was wonderful to work with you.

Cassi Baker

Vice President, State Government Affairs, Jazz Pharmaceuticals

Predictive Analytics / Message Testing

We were hired again to conduct PAC message testing, using our Velocity Data Analytics methodology which tests messages in a competitive environment. We uncovered eight distinguishing PAC variables that predict whether someone will contribute to the Cardinal PAC, and to what degree. For example, their team now knows that someone who was first exposed to the PAC in a particular manner is 60% more likely to contribute than someone not familiarized to the PAC via that medium and/or messenger.  This knowledge allows the Government Affairs team to accurately integrate the proper medium and messengers to accelerate their fundraising.

Internal PAC Culture Change Results in 860% Increase in PAC Receipts

The Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) needed to increase member PAC contributions and commitment, as well as more involvement from their board of directors. For example, many member companies were reluctant to sign a prior authorization form to allow ALFA to conduct PAC recruitment. Further, another competing association that shares many of ALFA’s members was aggressively promoting their PAC; as a result, ALFA members were concerned about divided loyalties and contributing to two Political Action Committees.

We delivered a presentation to the ALFA Board of Directors which demonstrated the rationale for PAC contributions beyond current legislative issues, and helped debunk common objections to PAC engagement. We also created a PAC fundraising manual that provided turn-key tools and templates for their member organizations to recruit for the ALFA PAC among their eligible employees.

“Amy’s tools helped us to persuade our members that PAC involvement is just as important as direct lobbying and grassroots engagement. Now our members are proud to have a larger PAC and understand its value.”

Micah Intermill

Director of Advocacy , Assisted Living Federation of America

Association PAC Development

The National Association of REALTORS ® PAC and their state REALTOR association PACs are routinely rated as the most admired in the country and their respective states.

The NAR and numerous state associations have hired us on numerous occasions to  teach their members how to use the science of influence to recruit more PAC members. For example, the Connecticut Association of REALTORS® average individual PAC contribution increased by 300% and annual PAC receipts have increased by 35%. The CAR attributes this to “the solid scientific persuasion principle our members learned during Amy’s workshop.”

“Great fundraising tips on steroids! We could listen to you for four more hours. There is a lot that you shared which we can use. Amazing!”

Nancy Garcia

1st Vice Chairman, Texas REALTORS® Political Action Committee

“I have heard nothing but positive feedback from members. The PAC fundraising webinar and content were outstanding and very valuable for now and future educational purposes. The learning resources you created are outstanding and our members have already responded that they will be using to educate future chairs and committees. Thank you again! It was a well-rounded presentation and you covered everything we were hoping for.”

Stephen Ciacchi

Director of RPAC & REALTOR Party , Ohio REALTORS®

“I was so excited after reading your research report, that I immediately called my team to share the findings. I can now tell our RPAC leaders that we can mathematically prove that what we have been asking them to do is, in fact, statistically true!”
Peter Kelly

Director, RPAC Technology & Online Fundraising, National Association of REALTORS®

“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

Program Coordinator, Political Affairs, Connecticut Association of REALTORS®

“Amy brings a unique, advanced approach to grassroots and PAC development beyond the traditional “do’s and don’ts” that everyone has heard before.”

Melissa Abel

Director, Governmental Affairs, Indianna Association of REALTORS®

Corporate Grassroots Communications Analysis, PAC Campaign Communications, and Advisory Services

We have collaborated with the Dow for several years on numerous PAC and grassroots improvement projects, including, but not limited to:

  • Conducting an Influence Audit of grassroots action alerts
  • Writing campaign communications for company leaders
  • Designing PAC fundraising campaign materials
  • Creating a turnkey PAC recruiting presentation for employee peer to peer recruiters
  • Training employee PAC recruiters
  • Providing advisory counsel on PAC administrative management issues

“We are bursting with pride and happiness. . .you two deserve so much credit for all that you have done to ensure we had the tools, data and support to get this done. On behalf of our Dow team, I am sincerely appreciative and offer you the warmest thanks!”

Louis Vega

President, Dow North America

In one of the campaigns, 100% of the most senior executives contributed to the PAC at the maximum level, and average individual PAC contributions increased by 400%.

PAC Commitment Escalation Strategy

The California Hospital and Healthcare Association wanted to increase their individual hospital member’s’ average PAC contributions, as well as help create a positive culture of PAC involvement. We conducted several member hospital teleclasses where we enumerated the scientific persuasion points relevant to PAC fundraising. As a result, they reached their PAC fundraising goal several months in advance, and saw a dramatic increase in their average member contribution.

“Our consultations with Amy opened up a whole new era for our PAC fundraising campaigns. She helped us realize we could reach our goal with a systematic, persuasive approach to PAC recruitment. As a result, we achieved a 70% increase in revenue, our largest ever. Our average corporate contribution increased by 400%, which helped us surpass our goal several months in advance. Her philosophy changed the entire outlook of our PAC. It also changed the structure, as we added staff and increased our PAC budget.”

Rachel R. Wanner

Former CHPAC Administrator , California Healthcare Association

Corporate Grassroots and PAC Recruitment

Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA) is the nation’s largest provider of dialysis services and products. An acquisition of another large dialysis provider presented new advocacy and PAC outreach opportunities for FMCNA’s government relations team.

We collaborated with Fresenius’ direct lobbying and advocacy staff on several projects, including PAC/grassroots message testing and advocacy workshops. As a result, Fresenius now has 252 new Key Contacts, and has experienced an increase in PAC receipts.

“It was critical that we rolled out our new advocacy and PAC initiatives with a solid foundation for long-term viability. Amy provided customized counsel and guidance that has helped us garner significant senior leadership support for our work as well as excitement and enthusiasm among our Key Contacts.”

Kathleen Smith

Vice President of Government Affairs, Fresenius Medical Care North America

Corporate Grassroots and PAC Change Management

The ConocoPhillips government affairs team was tasked with integrating multiple PAC and grassroots cultures, both from a major merger and several large corporate acquisitions. Cultural differences were significant on how the PAC’s were managed.

We collaborated on a variety of grassroots and PAC development initiatives, including, but not limited to:

  • PAC and grassroots message testing
  • Employee PAC and grassroots leader training
  • A persuasive turn-key PAC presentation
  • A new PAC recruitment campaign
  • Enhancements to the members-only web site featuring special streaming video messages
  • The creation of a comprehensive employee grassroots leader manual.

The PAC participation rate increased 78% and receipts increased by 64%. Employee awareness of legislative issues impacting the company is clearly on the rise, and membership on the grassroots leadership team has grown to over 200 employees in 14 states.

PAC Reinvigoration

For WEC Energy Group,  we coached the PAC staff on creating appropriate PAC recruiting and promotional materials, created PAC Board development materials, facilitated PAC member feedback meetings, and trained the staff and PAC recruiters on how to utilize the science of influence to recruit more PAC members. The staff and PAC Board have a renewed focus and mission.

“We have never seen this much focus and attention to our PAC before we worked with you. You taught us how to stay focused and on track to meet our goals. Due in large part to your involvement, I have seen a definite change in the PAC Board and staff. I have not seen this kind of excitement or interest in our PAC since I’ve been a part of the Government Affairs staff.  In our first small group recruitment meeting, we gained over 40 new members!”

Judy Job

PAC Manager, WEC Energy Group

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