Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 16

Integrating Advocacy on All Staff Levels
Think about how various employees can incorporate
advocacy into their area:
* Membership staff - Consider a subset of your
association member list that is particularly interested
in or relevant to advocacy and the political process.
Work with your advocacy consultant/lobbyist to create
a governmental relations committee and train these
association members as your advocacy front line.
Encourage them to visit with their elected officials within
the official's House/Senate district. If appropriate, train
your members as testifiers for the upcoming legislative
session, which takes place every odd-numbered year
in Texas.
* Education/Events staff - Plan events or breakout
sessions that are specific to advocacy and the legislative
process. Ask your members what topics they'd like
to learn more about and then invite experts and/or
legislators to speak at your events.
* Media/Communications staff - Add an advocacy
section to your newsletter and website and refresh these
sections often. Use social media to inform and engage
your members. Consider online tools that can send an
immediate "Call to Action" to your members, especially
tools that make it easy for your members to engage
through pre-populated messages and emails/calls that go
to their specific legislators. (Caution: don't flood elected
officials' inboxes. This almost always backfires.)
* Corporate Partnerships - Encourage your corporate
partners to become familiar with the association's
advocacy goals. If appropriate, ask them to support your
initiatives through their own associations and through the
legislative process.
Does some of this work sound scary and
unfamiliar? To most people, it absolutely does. For
most people and even the word "politics" is a turnoff.
In 2018 and ahead, it's an absolute necessity for
many associations.

Advocacy in Action
About two years ago, I was contracted to do some lobby
work for an association that had recently changed their

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2/9/16 4:12 PM

bylaws in order to allow advocacy. They had been
providing meaningful member training services for
many years, but recently decided to engage in the
legislative process on behalf of public schools.
This was a huge step for their board and for their
membership as a whole. Within a short amount of
time, they:
* assigned a staff member to be their governmental
relations lead,
* defined their legislative priorities,
* added a Legislative tab to their website's
homepage, and
* re-established their member-based governmental
relations committee.
During the 2017 Texas Legislative Session, they
provided testimony through their executive director
and key members of the association and became
a trusted resource for high quality data amongst
various legislators. And while the groundwork has
taken a significant amount of time and work for the
organization, it has also allowed the association's
members to speak with an effective and resonant voice
in the advocacy process.
A second client of mine, another education
association, is prohibited from lobbying based on
the type of members in their organization. Their
mission, however, includes funding research that can
be shared with other organizations, the media and
elected officials. Recently, they contracted with a
communications firm to package and distribute their
high-quality education research and polling data to
a variety of media markets. Their data is profound
and is already being used by other advocates and
officeholders to shape new policy for the next
legislative session.

There's No Time Like the Present
Why should you care? TSAE members are already in a
position of advocacy for their respective organizations
- you're already driven toward improving your
association. Bolstering your familiarity with the political
climate, players, and process will dovetail with your
efforts and pay multiple dividends: (1) Advocacy will be
less scary, (2) As your views become more informed,
your voice will become more effective, and (3) Your
membership will unify around mission-specific rallying
points - and that's the perfect start of an action-driven
plan to move your group's goals across the finish line.
Dr. Michelle Smith is a TSAE member,
full-time education lobbyist, and the
former executive director of the Fast
Growth School Coalition. She is listed
as one of Capitol Inside's 2017 Top
100 Hired Guns and regularly speaks to
various groups regarding advocacy and the legislative
process. Learn more at www.hillcopartners.com.


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Association Leadership - May/June 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Association Leadership - May/June 2018

Homepage
60-Second Solutions
Ask a Hotelier
Tech Talks Recap
What Every Association Professional Needs to Know About Advocacy
Are There Blind Spots in Your Sexual Harassment Policies?
Email Phishing in the New Wild West
Identifying Email Risks to Your Association
Harness the Power of Your Publication
Meetings Minute
Destination Planner
New Members
Index to Advertisers
Backpack to Briefcase
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Intro
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover1
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover2
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 3
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 4
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 5
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 6
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Homepage
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 60-Second Solutions
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 9
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Ask a Hotelier
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 11
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Tech Talks Recap
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 13
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - What Every Association Professional Needs to Know About Advocacy
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 15
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 16
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 17
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 18
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 19
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Are There Blind Spots in Your Sexual Harassment Policies?
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 21
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Identifying Email Risks to Your Association
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 23
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Harness the Power of Your Publication
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - 25
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Meetings Minute
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Destination Planner
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - New Members
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Index to Advertisers
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - Backpack to Briefcase
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover3
Association Leadership - May/June 2018 - cover4
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