12 Great Advocacy Stories in 2014

by Glen Justice // Dec 31, 2014 Uncategorized

12 Great Advocacy Stories

As the New Year dawns, it’s a great time for evaluation. And here at Connectivity, the results in our first year (the blog actually launched in May) made us smile.

Traffic doubled since September. Our Twitter following tripled. Since adding Slideshares two months ago, we have twice been featured on the homepage of Slideshare itself. We began offering downloadables, like our 76-page New Congress Guide, which have become popular. We even partnered up with the Goddard Gunster Institute to teach an advocacy class in January.

And its all thanks to you. Connectivity exists to help associations and advocacy folks, and our efforts would be empty without your attention. You take the time to read, share and comment, to download, sign up and weigh in — and we sincerely appreciate it.

So in an effort to give back, here are 12 advocacy stories from 2014, as selected by Connectivity’s editors. Some are simply good advocacy tales. Others offer some instruction. All of them, we hope, will help you better do your job in 2015.

#12 Life Inside a Police Association

The National Association of Police Organizations explains why answers must come slowly and carefully when your organization is at the forefront of a national crisis, with every move scrutinized. These crises pose serious questions for associations. While there’s safety in silence, association members often look to the organization to provide vocal advocacy and leadership. It presents a dilemma. Speak up and you become a target. Stay quiet and you risk backlash from members. Read more

#11 Life-or-Death Advocacy on Ebola

As American health care workers confronted the risk of Ebola here in the U.S., National Nurses United took center stage, fighting to get better protection for nurses who treat Ebola patients. Many associations can learn a thing or two about advocacy from watching the nurses in action. How active are they? Two dozen jumped in to comment on our story. Later, we caught up with RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director, who explained how the group stays so active. Read more

#10 Winning Ballot Measures, Year After Year

When you cannot get legislation in Washington, its common to go to states and municipalities. And the Safer Michigan Coalition knows how to win in that arena. The group won 8 of 13 ballot initiatives this year, using a budget of about $12,000 and roughly 70 volunteers. In fact, they have changed the laws in 17 Michigan towns since 2011 — and they plan to continue. Read more

#9 How to Advocate in 30,000 Local Jurisdictions

With a staff of 22 and an annual budget of almost $7 million, the International Sign Association has a staggeringly ambitious goal: to advocate in the roughly 30,000 local jurisdictions where signs — the kind you see on most businesses — are regulated. Their three-person rapid-response team is capable of parachuting in just about anywhere — and they do. Read more

#8 Why Every Advocacy Professional Needs to Work on the Ground

A social media expert spends his first weekend campaigning on the ground, learning that the Internet is an excellent platform for arguing, but a lousy one for discourse, and that the return on investment for face-to-face advocacy is far, far greater. Read more

#7 Member Engagement is Vital, So Why Not Track It?

Ask association executives what the most important metric is, and member engagement is often near to top of the list. That’s what the studies show. Yet studies also show that two out of three organizations are not tracking member engagement at all. Why the disconnect? Member engagement is not always an easy target. (You can also see our graphic, which shows what organizations are tracking.) Read more

#6 How to Pre-Position Your Campaign

A number of elements go into advocacy campaigning—but one of the most important tools at your disposal is your ability to “pre-position” your campaign. The Japanese call this technique “nemawashi.” Loosely translated, it means “tilling the soil around the roots so the plant will grow.” In the issue advocacy business, nemawashi is when you lay the groundwork for your campaign. Read more

#5 How Mobile Advocacy Can Power Up Events

When you pair the energy people bring to live events with the fact that almost everyone now owns a cell phone, you have a powerful weapon for advocacy. One CEO explains how he has seen it again and again, using specific examples. Read more

#4 How to Meet With Members of Congress

With the election bringing scores of new faces to Capitol Hill, associations and advocacy groups will be working hard to introduce themselves and make their case to incoming lawmakers and staff. Some of the most popular stories on Connectivity deal with how to better advocate before Congress, and we have done a few. Among them: how to meet with lawmakers; how to avoid having your email to Congress junked; and why social media is increasingly grabbing Congressional attention. Read more

#3 100 Association Twitter Handles to Follow

One of the best-read stories on Connectivity this year was a ranked list of association Twitter handles with more than 10,000 followers. We offered it as a table, as a download and as a list on Twitter itself. Associations used it to follow each other, to benchmark themselves and to brag on, all of which means we’ll be updating it again soon. Read more

#2 Five Issues to Track in State Government

Some of the most useful stories in 2014 are those that look forward to 2015. While issues like marijuana legalization and minimum-wage increases dominated state headlines throughout November’s election, governors and state legislatures will be taking up more nuts-and-bolts issues moving forward. That includes everything from job creation and transportation funding to corrections reform. Here’s a short guide, along with some maps that show how the parties fared in the states. Read more

#1 Thirty-five Issues to Track in the Next Congress

Speaking of a look forward, the reporters and editors at CQ Roll Call compiled a list of the 35 most important items pending in Congress. It covers technology, healthcare, defense, energy, finance, appropriations and transportation, and it should help those who are studying the new advocacy landscape. Associations spent a whopping $1.6 billion on lobbying in the first seven quarters of this election cycle, averaging about $2.6 million a day. And, with a new Congress in place, few would argue that is going to slow. So cheers to a banner year in advocacy in 2015. Read more


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