Civic Engagement and Advocacy Blog

How to Create an Online Grassroots Community Plan for Lobbying

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 3/5/15 7:00 AM

Combine the power of online communities and advocacy to increase member engagement.

Creating an online community to educate and engage people around specific topics always sounds like a great idea, until someone realizes how much work is involved. It can seem like a full time job, and in reality it is. From what tools to use, how to get people to join, and how to create an experience that get people to want to engage- it gets overwhelming fast.


What Do Lobbyists Do? How You Can Affect Legislative Advocacy

Posted by Jeff Ryan on 4/1/14 2:35 PM

Lobbyists have been influencing American politics since before their profession even had a name. Somewhere in the middle 1800s, there were enough of them roaming the halls of Congress hoping to gain audiences with representatives that the term “lobbyist” took root.

Today, lobbyists hold more sway than ever. In many cases, they aren’t just spokespeople, they really are members of the congressional family. (A recent CNN report noted that 78 members of Congress have federally registered lobbyists as family members. And Legistorm reports that those 100 lobbyists have worked on contracts worth nearly $2 billion.) This makes sense, as many lobbyists used to work in the government as elected officials, political appointees, staff or civil servants. Their experience in government has taught them how the legislative process works and given them access to a large number of decision makers.


No time for grassrooots advocacy? Find volunteer lobbyists!

Posted by Joel Blackwell on 11/20/13 1:18 PM

The following post is a guest post by Joel Blackwell, the Grassroots Guy, author of "Personal Political Power."


How to Use the Obamacare Cat Fight for Grassroots Lobbying

Posted by Brian Banbridge on 11/12/13 10:54 AM

How Associations Benefit from the Obamacare Fracas

Obamacare will go down in history as one of the largest political catfights our nation has ever seen. From Seattle to Tampa and New York to San Diego, both sides are embroiled in a legislative battle the scale of which America hasn’t seen since Roe v. Wade. At the moment, roughly 90% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is doing their job. A further 61% disapprove of the way President Obama is doing his.

That’s the dark cloud, and private organizations, trade associations, and Chambers of Commerce are the silver lining to it. If ever there was a time when the opportunity to lead was so blatantly up for grabs, I can’t think of one. Fortunately, many of these potential leadership incubators already have the infrastructure and people in place to force the issues in DC and bring direction back to the country.


The Top Two Grassroots Lobbying Obstacles

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 11/6/13 2:38 PM

This  post was written after speaking with Joel Blackwell, whose book "Personal Political Power." has helped medical practioners and professionals communicate their needs and the needs of their patients and practices to elected officials.

Joel ran focus groups in nine states asking association members and corporate staff why they don't write, phone and speak to elected officials. From those many conversations, he developed tactics that will help government relations executives overcome these obstacles so they can recruit, motivate and activate grass roots advocates. His common sense approach to grassroots lobbying is something that almost any membership organization can learn from.


Is Your Chamber of Commerce Leading the Pack for Grassroots Lobbying?

Posted by Brian Banbridge on 11/1/13 12:20 PM

Why Should Your Chamber of Commerce Engage in Grassroots Advocacy?


Does Your Elected Official Listen to Grassroots Lobbying?

Posted by Brent Willis on 10/22/13 10:26 AM

In a democratic society, the general public gets to determine who their elected officials are, hoping those they have chosen push for the agendas they feel is best for the country.


Can a Grassroots Movement Bring Change to Leadership?

Posted by Brian Banbridge on 10/18/13 7:15 AM

It has become increasingly clear to every American that our elected officials in Washington are very good at rhetoric, at pointing fingers, and fostering an increasing sense of acrimony throughout the country. What they are not good at is being the leaders they were elected to be. Depending on the polls you choose to believe, President Obama’s approval rating has fallen to roughly 37% and Congress is struggling to break out of the single digits.


How to use SSO Technology to Improve Member Engagement

Posted by Brent Willis on 10/10/13 8:50 AM

Announcing the Release of Votility's Single Sign On Technology

Any time you want to persuade an individual member to engage in an advocacy action, whether that is to vote, comment, email, or call their representatives about specific pending legislation, every extra step that they need to take can dramatically reduce the likelihood that they will take that action. We all live busy lives and are constantly inundated by requests and information. As an organization trying to mobilize your members for grassroots lobbying, you can't afford to have any roadblocks to civic engagement.


The Real Reason the US Government Shut Down

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 10/2/13 2:30 PM

It's a communication break down in government relations. 

Not just a communication breakdown between parties and within parties, but also between voters and lawmakers. Republicans and Democrats aren't on the same page and are talking at each other through the media and lobbyists rather than with each other through the voice of the voters.