During the legislative session bills can change status frequently as they move in and out of committees, amendments are added, and language changes Each one of these actions can alter the nature of a bill significantly. When you are tracking a few hundred bills at a time, keeping up with these changes can be a difficult task. Many legislative tracking systems offer some sort of email notification of the bills changes, but does your tracking system offer smart notifications? Read more »
The legislative sessions are starting all across the country and many organizations are gearing up to get their people involved in advocacy efforts. More and more organizations are relying on Grassroots Advocacy Software to engage their audience on the issues and to create calls-to-action. Electronic calls to action are not unlike standard email marketing – both are asking your audience to do something, whether its to buy shoes or send an email to a legislators. Grassroots campaign managers can look to email marketers and glean some great tips for improving the success of their email campaigns.
In this multi-part blog post I will go over some of the basics of email marketing and share some valuable information that you can use to improve your grassroots campaigns. Read more »
With the elections wrapping up this week the environment has changed for advocacy managers. Many states will see a large turnover in legislators occupying office because a number of elections at the state level occur in November. Come January 1st of next year, not only will you see some new legislators in office, the constituent makeup of each legislative district may be different as well. Read more »
Organizations that run multiple events each year often need to create reports that can provide information across a subset of events. Many of our clients run multiple types of events each year as well, from committee meetings to trainings and webinars, and these clients need the ability to filter their event reports by these different event types. After working closely with one of our event system power-users we have created some new tools that will greatly improve your ability to create cross event reports. Read more »
This week in our Featured Features we are going to highlight a great tool for Professional Lobbying firms that are tracking bills for multiple clients. The Professional Lobbyist version of our Legislative Tracking System enables lobbyists to track bills on behalf of multiple clients. Each client has their own login that they can use to view the bills that are being tracked on their behalf. The client’s lobbyist has the ability to assign a bill directly to their client, leave them private comments, and assign a bill to a client-specific tracking level. Even though the lobbyist is tracking bills on behalf of many clients, each client can only see the information that is pertinent to them, giving them their own private legislative information environment provided by the lobbying firm. Read more »
As you think about how your organization will interact with state legislators in 2015 you have to have a plan for how to tackle the new problems that come up in an election year. You have to set up your infrastructure to recognize the new legislators, educate new legislators on your organization, and educate your advocates on the new legislators. Capitol Impact provides comprehensive advocacy tools that our clients use when making the transition during a new election year. Here’s how: Read more »
Associations, universities, non-profits or any organization that engage in advocacy often hold meetings of supporters, members, and advocates in order to discuss the upcoming legislative agenda and its impact on the organization. These types of advocacy organizations also host rallies at the capitol to make their voices heard. One way to improve the impact of these meetings to it get legislators involved. Having legislators attend your events not only gets your advocates excited, it’s a way for your organization to spend some time informing legislators on your issues and showing them the strength of your support.
Getting legislators to attend, however, is easier said than done. Whether it is a simple message to alert them of the event or an invitation to join in, in the past the only way to get legislators attention was to send them an email or written invitation. While this may not be the most effective way to ensure that legislators attend, you continue to send out invites from your desk. What if you could enable your invitation to legislators to be reinforced by their constituents? Read more »
2014 is a significant election year in most states. The makeup of your state legislative bodies could have changes large or small. How much do you think your advocacy system is affected by the changes at your state capitol after an election? In this blog post we try to highlight how changes at the capitol can impact your advocacy system. Read more »
Friday was the last day of the legislative session in Georgia. As the clock ticked down to midnight, many advocates waited with baited breath as some big profile legislation stalled on the way to the finish line. The night concluded as representatives threw the contents of their briefcases in the air to celebrate the end of the 2014 Regular Session. Many bills with huge support behind them did not pass, and this left advocates wondering “What do we do now?”
The end of one legislative session is just the beginning of the long road ahead to the next. Here are a few things you can do starting today to ensure your next session will be a success. Read more »
Which one of the three scenarios below describes your work process to create a weekly report on legislative activity?
- You are the lobbyist for an association and once a week you need to create the summary of activity at the capitol during the legislative session. The text is pretty easy to write because you have been at the capitol, but conveying information on the legislation your audience can take hours because you want to give as much information as possible. Once you have report written you then try to email it to folks or put it on your website. The various steps to emailing don’t work because your email service only lets you send to a maximum number of people which is far less than your total membership. So you send out the email in batches, or you use something like Constant Contact which will mail a database list of members, but it costs more money every time you send a report. Between the time you spend creating the weekly report with bill links and time you follow up with getting it to the people who want to read it, you are ready to scream.
- You work for a public entity such as a university, or state agency or local government. As the lobbyist, your opportunity to shine with your colleagues is during the legislative session. Your weekly report to the administration and senior management is your opportunity to get in front of these folks with what is happening at your state capitol and how it will affect the organization. You want to create a very professional looking document that will convey all the important information they need to see. So you spend several hours each week, getting the legislation and the links to the state site so your management can read the details of the important legislation. You create a PDF document that can be easily sent to them and printed by them, but it takes you nearly an entire day. You dread legislative report day each week.
- You are one of several lobbyists for a state based lobbying firm. You have a list of clients that expect to hear from you at the end of each week, highlighting the legislation of importance to them. The challenge is that each client is monitoring a set of bills that is different. Come Friday, the text you write to them all is pretty much the same for each client, focusing on the big issues at the capitol. But you end up spending most of the day and into the night compiling the lists of bills that each client needs to see. There is cutting and pasting from spreadsheets to create a unique list for each client, then sending each client their weekly report. You wish you had a simple tool that spit out a list of bills being tracked for each client.
Does this sound familiar?