Announcing the 2014 Advocacy Leaders Network Schedule

We are pleased to announce another exciting year of our Advocacy Leaders Network (ALN) workshop series, tailored to senior advocacy, government affairs, and public relations professionals. The goal of this advanced advocacy training is to enhance relationships, communications, and understanding between citizens and Congress. This is achieved through professional development and networking opportunities for the public affairs community.

Below is the schedule and topics for the 2014 workshop series:

The Advocacy Leaders Network is hosted by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) and produced by Beekeeper Group. Each event is a collaborative discussion between the expert presenters and practitioners in the audience, so we hope you join us for these engaging and helpful events.



Event Series Admission REGISTER HERE


Single Event Admission (March 28, 2014) REGISTER HERE

Single Event Admission (June 13, 2014) REGISTER HERE

Single Event Admission (September 5, 2014) REGISTER HERE

Single Event Admission (December 5, 2014) REGISTER HERE

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New Strategies for Twitter Advocacy at #TwitterDC

Earlier this week, several of us from Beekeeper Group had the opportunity to attend the first #TwitterDC of 2014. These events are always a great opportunity to hear the latest data on Twitter usage and to learn about emerging best practices for political and advocacy campaigns.

For me, it was most interesting to see what new strategies are being used by advocacy groups to take their Twitter presence to the next level. Some of these strategies included:

  • Creating dedicated multimedia specifically for Twitter to better engage audiences Continue reading

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Best Practices in Mobile Advocacy

From the Advocacy Leaders Network blog:

The final event in our 2013 Advocacy Leaders Network event series took a deep dive into the latest and greatest uses of mobile technology for advocacy, including apps, shortcodes, and responsive design. The event was complete with informative presentations, lively conversations, and many takeaways. Of course, we also took this opportunity to launch an Advocacy Leaders Network mobile app, and Beekeeper Group’s new Advobot, a mobile virtual presence controlled via mobile app, even made a brief appearance.



Gabriela Schneider, Communications Director of the Sunlight Foundation, gave the keynote address. Sunlight Foundation is nonpartisan nonprofit that leverages data and technology for more effective democratic participation. They frequently release mobile apps and API’s that empower organizations and citizens, several of which Gabriela explained in her presentation, inspiring many in the room to consider how they might also leverage Sunlight’s data in addition to their own.


A panel of experts from different organizations and providers then took the stage to share successful strategies for implementing mobile technology. Beekeeper Group’s Shana Glickfield led this panel of experts through a spirited talk where representatives from prominent organizations shared their experiences with getting buy-in, launching, and getting members to adopt their mobile technology. Here are just a few of the important points they shared:

• If your member base is not often sitting in front of a desk during the day, you are a prime candidate for mobile communications.
• You can get a sense of the mobile technology your members use from seeing which devices people are accessing your website. Demonstrate demand for mobile technology using both the latest in mobile usage data and direct feedback from organization members.
• Mobile applications are extremely useful for conferences and Hill Fly-ins so that you don’t need to overwhelm participants with paper and can update users in real-time.
• Promotion of the app to your audience is key to adoption and demonstrating success. Provide incentives like prizes and exclusive information to inspire users to opt-in.
• Apps don’t have to be expensive and can even be used as a fundraising tool. Examples include selling sponsorships of the app or having PAC donations functionality.


Finally, participants and speakers broke into small groups to discuss their specific challenges, approaches, and experiences with mobile. People left with valuable information and well aware of the steps to get from idea to success. How do we know? Via their feedback forms on the ALN mobile app!

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Does Your Key Contact Program Need a Boost?

Your government affairs team might have some good relationships on the Hill, but what about your members, activists, and grassroots voices?  It’s your buzzing bees that can have the most significant impact on policymakers thanks to in-district relationships, authentic stories, and a natural passion for the issues impacting them most.

Photo via Congressional Management Foundation Twitter Feed

Photo via Congressional Management Foundation Twitter Feed

Our most recent Advocacy Leaders Network program addressed how your nonprofit, trade association, or corporation, can utilize a key contact program to maintain an active stream of influential communications with policymakers.   Here are the three keys to success:

1.  Inspire Your Key Contacts
•    Show them their potential and their impact.  Local key contacts are often big fish in a small pond, unlike in Washington.
•    Make becoming a lead advocate for your organization an esteemed position held by only those selected through a competitive application process.
•    Give them a wide range of options for advocacy tactics, so that they can choose which activities they’re most comfortable with.

2.  Embrace Depth Metrics
•    Utilize surveys or RAP Index to better understand who in your base has good relationships and interest in engaging more with policymakers.
•    Define what your high-value activities are and then encourage those most.
•    Assign number levels to different actions to identify highest performing key contacts.

3.  Coach and Mentor
•    Equip them with the information that they need, including talking points, training, and mock Congressional meetings.
•    Have peers demonstrate and share success stories to inspire others to get more involved.  Videos are great for this.
•    Form legislative action committees in states (and give them sufficient support to take actions).

Was this information valuable to you?  If so, join us at our next Advocacy Leaders Network program in December, where we’ll be discussing Mobile Advocacy.

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Community Building | Events

Best Practices for Fly-In’s From Advocacy Leaders Network

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The most recent Advocacy Leaders Network event, Come Fly-In with Me: Best Practices for Capitol Hill Lobby Days was a great success! Advocacy professionals gathered at the Beekeeper Group offices to hear advice from our presenters with the aim of learning the tips and tricks for planning and implementing a stress-free organizational Lobby Day on Capitol Hill.

The event began with a keynote address by Congressional Management Foundation President, Bradford Fitch. Brad unveiled findings of a recent Congressional Management Foundation survey that polled Chiefs of Staff from House offices, including the fact that “64% of offices prefer to hear from a constituent rather than a DC representative when scheduling a meeting.”

He also added that, according to House schedulers, “Afternoons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the best days to request constituent meetings with Congress.”

Brad’s presentation was followed by a panel of speakers from prominent corporations and associations who also imparted their seasoned wisdom to the audience.  Here are some of the top takeaways:

  • Be strategic about what time of year you do your Lobby Day.  Pick the best time of year for YOUR issue so that Members are more likely to focus on it.
  • Help staff prepare (and get the Member prepared) by sending your leave-behinds a few days ahead of time.
  • Segment your participants by sending people from different sectors of your industry to talk about different issues.
  • Bring your facts to life by telling stories, along with sharing data.
  • Using technology is great way to liven up your Lobby Day – from apps, to videos, to even a basic Twitter feed.
  • Post-meeting follow ups are a critical part of the Lobby Day process. Something as small as sending short thank you notes impart a great impact on a Member and their staff. (Expert hint: Send the thank-you over the weekend, when they get less email and are less busy, so they’re more likely to notice and enjoy it!)

Join us in September for the third event in the 2013 ALN series, Boosting Key Contact Programs: Turing Players into Coaches. Information about the event is available here.


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Come ‘Fly-in’ With Us on May 17th

We are excited to announce the full list of speakers for the May 17th Advocacy Leaders Network event, Come Fly-In with Me: Best Practices for Capitol Hill Lobby Days:


Come Fly-in With Me -HL edited

From the Advocacy Leaders Network blog:

Tony Kudner- Program Manager, Grassroots Advocacy, National Hospice and Palliative Care Association

Sarah Nordstrom- Manager, Government Affairs, Novo Nordisk

Meredith Nethercutt - Director, Public Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy, National Association of Manufacturers

Amelia Wang- Chief of Staff, Representative Judy Chu (CA-27)

Bradford Fitch- President and CEO, Congressional Management Foundation

Mike Panetta- Partner, Beekeeper Group

Brad Fitch will deliver the keynote presentation at the “Come-Fly In with Me” event. His presentation will cover CMF’s latest survey research on how to most effectively schedule advocacy fly-in meetings.  His keynote will be followed by a panel of the advocacy experts featured above, who will provide insights from their experiences managing highly effective lobby days.

It’s not too late to purchase tickets for this event! You can register for the event here or purchase a series ticket to attend all of the events remaining in the 2013 series. We look forward to seeing you May 17th.

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10 #SXSW Advocacy Sessions You Should Check Out

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It’s that time of year again – when techsperts and social mediaphiles converge on Austin, Texas for South by Southwest® (a.k.a. #SXSW13). Most of us here at Beekeeper Group fall into one of these categories. That’s why we’ve sifted through the hundreds of events and put together this handy list of 10 advocacy-centric sessions you should check out at SXSW.

The list is in chronological order. It’s a free-for-all, so get to the sessions you want to attend early.  Download the mobile apps for SXSW and for the Austin Food Trucks – they’re both lifesavers. #ProTip: When in doubt, hang out on the rooftop at Iron Cactus.

10 Advocacy Sessions You Should Check Out at SXSW®

  • Al Gore on the Future – Saturday, March 9, 3:30PM
    “[A] frank and clear-eyed assessment of the emerging forces that are reshaping our world and will continue to do so in the decades to come.”
  • Who Run the (Internet) World: Women – Sunday, March 10, 11:00AM
    “How do you talk to an audience that primarily wants to talk to each other? Why is the greater Internet dismissive of the power of girls and women?”
  • The Real Responsive Process? – Sunday, March 10, 12:30PM
    “Four industry leaders will delve into how they handle the responsive process or how they don’t.”
  • Big Data Democracy: The Rise of AnalyticsSunday, March 10, 3:30PM
    “[T]op political and technological minds will discuss how mining and analyzing “big data” helps predict – extremely accurately – the behaviors of constituents and the electorate.”
  • The New Serendipity? – Sunday, March 10, 5:00PM
    As we live lives that are more accelerated and connected, with access to tools that help us rapidly express and investigate our ideas are we creating greater conditions for serendipity?
  • Seven Ways to Fail Magnificently – Monday, March 11, 3:45PM
    Ted Murphy, Founder & CEO of IZEA, Ted will share 6 ideas that fell flat (while wasting money and time) and one that paid off.
  • Measuring Social Change & Media: Beyond BS – Monday, March 11 11:00AM
    “This workshop will dramatically demonstrate how the practice of measurement, social media, social change, and networks has evolved over the past 5 years.”

Tweet us your highlights or post them in the comments if you happen to attend any of these. We’d love to hear from you while you’re there!

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Events | Mobile | Social Media

New Advocacy Leaders Network Series Off to a Strong Start





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With the kickoff of our first event of the 2013 Advocacy Leaders Network series, we were excited to host yet another full room of advocacy professionals in our Beekeeper Group offices. The topic “Meet the Freshmen: Building Relationships with New Members of Congress” produced an engaging dialogue between speakers and the audience.

Congressional Research Service veteran Judy Schneider started the event with a keynote address. Judy captivated the audience with her tenacious wit as she shared over 30 years of wisdom and advice.

The Advocacy Leaders Network event continued with a Q&A session with a panel of current and former Chiefs of Staff that previously helped establish offices for new Members of Congress. Panelists compared their own experiences while offering tips to attendees on best practices for ensuring your organization is seen and heard by a new Member.

“Become a resource for your Member. If they do not know much about your issue, helping educate them is a great way to develop what the Member will view as a valued relationship.” – Karen Czarnecki, former Chief of Staff to Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA).

 “No two Congressional offices operate the same. Be patient with offices as they establish their various internal processes.” – Glenn Wavrunek, current Chief of Staff to Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI).

Join us May 17th for the second of four events in the 2013 Advocacy Leaders Network series. The topic for the event will be “Come Fly-In with Me: Best Practices for Capitol Hill Lobby Days.”

Early bird tickets to the event are available for purchase here.

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Auto industry turns its focus toward nation’s capital

Legislators, regulators, Hill staff, auto manufacturers and journalists will converge in D.C. this week for the 2013 Washington Auto Show. As the Hive’s resident auto gal, I’ll be attending and covering the activities surrounding this year’s Public Policy days. Read my auto show preview here.

First up will be the National Journal Live Policy Summit on January 30, entitled Affordable Mobility: A Roadmap to Energy Efficiency, moderated by Amy Harder and Fawn Johnson. Panelists will include:

  • Mitch Bainwol – President and CEO, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
  • Robert Bienenfeld of Honda – Senior Manager, Environment & Energy Strategy
  • Gina McCarthy of the EPA – Asst. Administrator, the Office of Air and Radiation
  • Tom Stricker of Toyota – Vice President of Technical and Regulatory Affairs
  • Rebecca Lindland of IHS Global Insight – Director, Automotive Research
  • Don Chalmers – President, Don Chalmers Ford and Board Member of National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)

Want to follow along? Here are your Twitter resources for live coverage:

  • Follow Summit live tweets from National Journal Live at @NJLiveEvents.
  • Our client, Global Automakers, is a sponsor of the NJ Live event. Follow them at @GloblAutomkrs for policy-focused updates.
  • Tune into tweets from my blog handle via @BeCarChic.
  • The event hash tag is #WAS13.

View the full schedule of events here.

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Auto Practice | Events

The Hive it is a Changin’

From new faces to an upgraded Hive, Beekeeper Group has gone through many changes this year! Thank you for being a part of our growth and success- and cheers to a happy and successful 2013.


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