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 the 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 the 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 are 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 spits out a list of bills being tracked for each client.
Does this sound familiar?
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Whichever scenario fits your work process, you have to realize that, more than likely, your current legislative monitoring tools were not designed to share information that way you need. That is why when Capitol Impact entered the legislative tracking software arena in 2001, we focused on understanding the job that needs to be done. We created a legislative monitoring environment that is integrated with sophisticated document handling tools and a full-scale contact management system. We deliver a web application that contains a weekly legislative report application to link the bills for each week’s report to a document page. The bills you want in the report are put into groups so that a clean report with group headings, and bills listed below them, is displayed. Each bill has a hyperlink to the actual bill and will display your state’s information about the bill.
The legislative report can be made into a PDF or emailed to a group from your system. It’s all part of the tracking software. And if you are a lobbying firm with multiple clients, the system allows you to give each client a link to login to the system so they can see the bills being tracked for them. No more cutting and pasting lists, because the Capitol Impact state legislative tracking system lets you create a bill folder for each client that is secure and has a password for them to log in and view it.
If you are like most lobbying organizations trying to make a single user legislative tracking system help you do your work in a “multi-person need to know environment”, then you should take a look at a system that provides access in a variety of ways, cutting down on time, and improving the engagement of your audience.