Advocacy in an Election Year – Part 1

April 29, 2014 by Crescerance

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.

3 Ways an Election Will Effect Your Advocacy System

  • New elections change the people who represent your constituents. For the newly elected members of your state legislature you may want to acquaint your constituents with their representatives. If you have a comprehensive advocacy system, you can send your audience an email with a link to their house and senate members which then provides them a bio of the members. Helping your constituents become a bit more familiar with the lawmakers may help to engage them in your advocacy efforts in the coming year
  • The committee makeup will change with new people being assigned and senior committee positions possibly being reassigned to different legislators. The people you knew in your key committees could  be different. The advocates who live within the districts of committee members will again need to be educated on things such as they now live in the district for the head of a specific committee , or their house member is now a ranking member of the committee that decides on many of your key issues.
  • Advocacy relationships with legislators will both change and go away. You may have people whom you relied upon as they knew legislators, and you kept records on their relationships. Those records need to be updated which can be time consuming. If your advocacy system has a relationship component, you can clear out the relationships with legislators who are new, and resend invitations to the constituents in those districts to visit your advocacy system and update their relationships.  The update should include identifying any relationships with the newest members of the legislature as you may have new contacts to pursue.

The bottom line is a change in the makeup of people at your state capitol will impact your work and how you engage your advocates. With the elections in November, some of the final results may not be in your system until December. As a result, you have a very short window to clean up outdated relationships and inform your advocates of the changes. You will be relying on your advocacy system to help you deal with these changes. Now is the time to start planning so that come the year end, you are sending emails to supporters to get them involved, planning how to educate legislators on who their constituents are in their districts from your organization, and generally re-aligning your advocacy system to be effective with the new lawmakers.