Civic Engagement and Advocacy Blog

Grassroots Advocacy and the Lifecycle of Pending Legislation (Part One)

Posted by Jeff Ryan on 1/10/14 12:58 PM

Engaging your members at the right times in the process is critical to your ongoing success

The legislative process can at times seem long, convoluted and rife with movement, delays and highly publicized maneuvering. However, all bills introduced into the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives follow the same basic path. A working knowledge of the process will allow your organization to organize and execute initiatives that will engage and inspire your members to get involved when you need them to in order to affect the result.

As always, the further upstream your advocates can get involved in shaping the language of a bill or influencing changes along the way, the happier they (and you) are apt to be with the result.

We’ve identified the 14 crucial steps in the legislative process that provide opportunities for grassroots advocacy organizations to influence outcomes. This post is part one of a three-part series examining the 14 steps of the legislative process in detail and providing an overview of the best avenues for member engagement.

The legislative process: Steps 1-5

1. Introduction
Anyone may draft a bill. (In recent years, organizations have increasingly taken the lead in crafting the language of bills introduced in the House and Senate.) However, the formal introduction of legislation can only be done by members of Congress. By doing so, they become the bill’s sponsor(s). A piece of legislation (a bill, joint resolution, concurrent resolution or simple resolution) enters the legislative process when it is assigned a number — H.R. signifies a bill introduced in the House of representatives and S. signifies a bill introduced in the Senate. The bill is then printed by the Government Printing Office, then…

2. Referred to a committee

Almost all bills are referred to a standing committee in the legislative body where the bill originated. When the bill reaches a committee, it is…


Should Your Grassroots Campaign Include Pinterest?

Posted by Brent Willis on 6/12/13 3:30 PM

Are you missing out on increased civic engagement in your cause by ignoring this social media channel? 

Leadership. Dedication. Creativity. Social Media presence. As the leader or team member of an advocacy group, Chamber of Commerce, or trade association, it is important that you have a strong grasp of these skills and tools to affect pending legislation.


How to Manage Pending Legislation with Online Advocacy Software

Posted by Brent Willis on 5/14/13 8:15 AM

You can decide which legislation to track and display for your membership without having to spend countless hours searching multiple websites and databases. 


Issue Advocacy Tips for Younger Chamber of Commerce Members

Posted by Brent Willis on 5/7/13 6:22 AM

What younger citizens can bring to your Chamber of Commerce, association or advocacy organization.

Obviously, they bring time! The younger the person, the more years they likely have ahead of them, and that means the more years they can be a dedicated, active member of your group. More often than not, your younger demographic has more free time and with the right member engagement strategy could be your most driven volunteer! 

Another consideration is capital. While in most cases younger people have less money on hand, and therefore less to donate even to the best causes, they have endless earning potential, and could become great donors and even patrons of your organization. The earlier they know about the benefits of your member organization, are engaged and offering their input through a program that actually requests and utilizes their input transparently, the more likely they are to stick around in their earning years.