Expert Tips to Boost Your PAC in 2014

PPG Conference Agenda FINAL 5-13-14 (1)-3.pdfThere are a few PACs in Washington that I’m sure will see a boost of activity, and not just because of mid-term elections.  Attendees of the recent Women in Government Relations: PAC, Politics & Grassroots Conference learned new ways to inspire support, participation and increased contributions to meet their PAC goals thanks to the following speakers:

  • Lisa D. T. Rice, Political and External Affairs Strategist (Moderator)
  • Mica Evans Hider, Director Federal Affairs, American Chemistry Council
  • Meaghan Killion Joyce, Political Affairs Manager, International Paper
  • Suzy Sterner, Director, Congressional Relations, Exelis

Here are some of the key tactics they shared that you can apply to boost your PAC today:

1)  Go Peer to Peer - Sometimes the most influential messenger is a peer, rather than the boss (or especially the PAC Manager).  Research showed the people were more likely to sign-up for their PAC when asked by a trusted colleague.

2) Tie Issues to Bottom Line – Not everyone is a political junkie, so it helps to tie wonky issues back to the company bottom line.  Also, take the common challenge of questionable impact head on.  Use a tone to let people know they have a say and that they can recommend which candidates receive support.

3) Know Your Audience - Different audiences will respond to different themes, rewards, and messages.  If you’re trying to engage CEOs, then you want to do a big ticket raffle (Superbowl tickets, vacations, etc.) rather than a wacky fundraiser.

4) Set Contribution Guidelines - Revise and share the suggested contribution amounts based on pay level scales.  One PAC saw a big increase just by raising up the lowest suggested contribution amount.

5) Make it Fun! - Themed campaigns get people buzzing around the office.  Use a unique and memorable theme throughout activities, outreach, and giveaways.

6) Say Thank You – Just like any other fundraising campaign, it’s important that people are recognized for the contribution.  If you can have a VIP call and thank them, that’s great, but even just hand-written notes or a phone call can make people feel appreciated.

 


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Community Building | Service

Beekeeper Group’s Best Practices for Your Lobby Day

PICSTIIIICK

 

How to secure Hill meetings for your D.C. fly-in

Spring and summer are not only the season of tourists in our nation’s capital; they are also the seasonal beholder of the fly-in (or lobby day, Hill day, or summit). Yes, that’s right – it’s not just anxious museum visitors you have to be wary of in the crosswalks. There are thousands of people crossing paths with us all season who are here for a reason, and one reason only – to impact Congress.

But somebody has to coordinate all of this, right? I used to be that somebody, and let me tell you, I don’t miss personally scheduling hundreds of meetings with Congressional offices. But I did learn some invaluable tools while doing so.

This is one in a series of posts where I’ll be breaking down fly-in best practices, specifically helpful tips for scheduling and coordinating your organization’s day on the Hill. Up first – getting on the Congressional Scheduler’s good side.

3 Simple Steps to Hill Meeting Success:

Step 1: Find out who the scheduler or Executive Assistant is. Don’t rely on the latest version of the Congressional Directory. Pick up the phone and call the offices you’re targeting if you have to. Speak to whoever answers the phone. Mark up the directory you have with the most current information so you can keep track for future events throughout the year.

#PROTIP: Give your invite the extra edge by actually asking the office the Scheduler’s preferred method of contact for meeting requests.

Step 2: Make sure your members are actual constituents of the officials with whom they want to meet. If they don’t live in the District or state, then they should have a business there to get the Member’s time.

#PROTIP:  Group constituents together so you’re not requesting multiple meetings with Congressional offices on the same day.

Step 3: Include all possible available information that the Congressional office might want to know in your first request. If you don’t have everything available, make sure to note it for the Scheduler in your request. These are the non-negotiables when sending a request for a meeting on Capitol Hill:

·         Who you are, who your organization is

·         Full name of your guests

·         Guest(s)’ mailing address (home or business), including zip code + 4

·         The reason your guests are visiting town and want to meet with the legislator

 #PROTIP:  When submitting your request, give the Congressional office 3-4 weeks lead time. Much earlier and they don’t know their schedule, and much later it can put them in a tough position juggling the Member’s commitments.

Bottom line – if you show the Scheduler that you care enough to consider these details to make his or her job easier, then you’ll likely get more than a gold star – you may just secure every Hill meeting you request!

Stay tuned for more Hill fly-in tips and tricks for your successful advocacy day in Washington, D.C. Want a digital assist with your fly-in? Check out our Lobby Day mobile app.


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All about bees | Digital Tactics | Mobile | Service

Gmail: What’s New and What’s It Hiding?

You may have heard by now that Gmail, Google’s web-based email client, is undergoing some pretty drastic changes. We like this video from Mashable, which explains the ins-and-outs of the changes.

Our two biggest takeaways (so far):

1) The new, re-designed Gmail may hide important advocacy messages. By separating all mail into tabs, users may not see outreach messages from advocacy organizations, as they typically would.

Up until now, new messages piled up on the top of users’ mailboxes, requiring the user to act on them in some way – either by opening, deleting, or archiving them. Now, messages may show up in a tab that frequently goes unchecked by the user, leaving important messages to languish. Advocacy organizations will need to adapt their messaging language to avoid obscure automated Gmail tab labels, and to fall under commonly used tab labels.

2) Social media gets its own tab. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram: all notification emails from social media networks will appear in the same tab.

This will make engaging with your social community easier than ever. With the ability to view all of your conversations and interactions in one place with just a click of a tab, managing your online presence won’t take digging through mountains of email notifications anymore.

The new changes to Gmail will roll-out to all users over the next few weeks. We look forward to seeing how organizations will adapt to these new changes to the email provider of over 425 million users around the world.


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Service | Social Media

5 Questions To Ask When Choosing Your Advocacy CRM

CRM Wordle

Every advocacy group needs a way to organize its constituents. Often times, managing hundreds or thousands of supporters or potential advocates, organizations deal with thousands of pieces of data about their members. Organizing all of that data into a logical and easy-to-access database requires more than a simple spreadsheet. This database is called a CRM, or as we call in the advocacy world, a Constituent Relationship Manager. CRM tools can be found in many industries. For many large brands keeping track of customers and vendors, for example, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management

We’ve helped quite a few advocacy organizations in need of a new CRM find the right solution. At Beekeeper Group, we’re tool agnostic across the board. That means we don’t limit ourselves to recommending one specific solution to every client; rather, we work with the tools that best suit our clients’ needs. We’re certified partners with many of the CRM vendors serving the advocacy sector, and we have extensive experience working with them.

Regardless of whether you’re working with us to find the right solution – your advocacy organization needs to know the right steps to take to select the best CRM tool.

So, how does an advocacy group like yours select the right one? Here are five questions to ask:

1. What is my list of “must-haves?” Every organization has specific needs. Does your trade association send mass-mailings? Do you want to track your advocates’ actions? Do you need an integrated “Contact Your Members of Congress” feature? Does it integrate with other database or tools used by the organization? Determining your organization’s “must-haves” and compiling a list of key features is step one when shopping for the right CRM. When asking this question it is very important to separate your “must-haves” from your “wish to haves.”  No CRM tool will work exactly like you want it without some modification.

2. Which CRM satisfies my list of key features? Step two requires examining your must-haves and researching the CRM options available to you. We typically request an in-person or screen share demonstration from each CRM vendor when working with a client in determining a CRM solution. Creating a strong relationship with a CRM representative goes a long way when you have questions. Picking the CRM that has the functionality that you need is a no-brainer, but it’s not going to be easy to find unless you research your options and ask the right questions.

3. How much does this option cost? CRM pricing adjusts with your needs, from around $100 per month, to thousands of dollars per month. Typically, CRM pricing is dependent on how many features are needed or the size of the constituency. Will the monthly or yearly fee include customer service? Will it include new features as the CRM rolls them out?

4. Is it easy to learn? We know just how busy advocacy groups are working with their members and how valuable their time is. That is why it is important to take a look at the CRM’s management interface and determine if there is going to be a steep learning curve. One part of the CRM selection process should be requesting access to demo accounts for each of the CRM options your organization is considering, and taking a few minutes for a guided walk-through of the interface.

5. What type of ongoing support does the vendor offer? There are few things worse than feeling stuck as you manage a database of thousands of supporters. When picking the right CRM solution, it’s important to ask what type of ongoing support the vendor offers. Is there a dedicated, on-call account support representative if anyone in your organization has a question? Is phone support offered? Does the price include customer support, or is that an added feature? Don’t discount the importance of strong customer service.

There are dozens of CRM options available to advocacy organizations, and picking the right one requires asking the right questions. Not all CRM solutions are the same, and with the right information in your pocket, your organization can pick the right CRM to successfully manage your supporters for years to come.


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Client Work | Digital Tactics | Service

Beekeeper Group Wins Grassroots Innovation Award from Public Affairs Council for Mobile Application

Receipt of Grassroots innovation Award by Matt Haller, IFA vice president of Public Affairs and Chief of Staff to IFA President & CEO, Steve Caldeira.The Public Affairs Council awarded its top honor for innovation in grassroots innovation to the International Franchise Association (IFA) for their IFA Franchising Votes mobile application developed by Beekeeper Group in support of IFA’s 2012 Public Affairs Conference.

“We are honored to receive this award that recognizes the power of grassroots within the franchising community,” said Matt Haller, IFA vice president of Public Affairs and Chief of Staff to IFA President & CEO, Steve Caldeira. “Working with Beekeeper Group we were able to develop and deploy powerful tools that our members could use to communicate IFA’s message to lawmakers. The app’s integration with social media amplified our ability to promote the economic impact of the franchising industry in every state and congressional district.”

“We are very proud of our client and thankful for the opportunity to work with them on this award-winning grassroots innovation,” said Mike Panetta, Partner at Beekeeper Group.  “We are all increasingly living in a world where there is no ‘offline’ any more. The ubiquity of mobile devices and the increasing speed of wireless connections enable organizations to develop and distribute robust tools that create powerful opportunities for associations and issue groups to advance their causes.”

The IFA Franchising Votes application empowered the IFA franchisee membership by providing all the tools needed for effective grassroots lobbying within a single mobile platform. Using this application, IFA members were able to:

  • Review organizational talking points to ensure IFA presented a unified message on key issues in meetings with legislators
  • View conference and congressional meeting schedules
  • Watch videos from organizational leadership related to IFA’s issues
  • Consult congressional directories and Wikipedia entries to gain additional intelligence on Members of Congress before meetings
  • Submit feedback from meetings with legislators
  • Monitor social media posts that were using the event’s hashtag, #franchisingvotes

The application increased the “public echo” of the franchisee’s efforts on Capitol Hill. By using Franchising Votes, IFA members were able to generate social media content related to the conference that would be automatically appended with the appropriate hashtag and posted on the member’s Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare profiles. Through IFA Franchising Votes their members could:

  • Provide status updates on to Twitter and Facebook related to congressional meetings
  • Post Videos or photos from the events to Twitter and Facebook
  • Check-in at Foursquare locations that were curated by IFA, such as House and Senate office buildings, the U.S. Capitol, or the IFA Public Affairs Conference

The application was available as a free download via the iTunes and Google Play stores, for iPhones and Android devices respectively.


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Beekeeper Service Day

Beekeeper Group celebrated its two-year anniversary last Thursday by participating in a day of service at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. Staffers and Partners worked with job-seekers crafting resumes, writing cover letters, and filling out applications. The experience made a particularly significant impression on Beekeeper intern and resident Eagle Scout, Ryan Kerr. “I’ve done a lot of these types of events before but I felt that this was one of the most personal,” he said. “It was direct interaction with the person you’re helping. You don’t always get that.”

For Partner Mike Panetta, the day was eye-opening. “You hear so much about unemployment and the job market that it’s easy to forget how difficult the process really is,” he said.

In addition to having fantastic technology resources, Beekeeper was fortunate to have the help of the tireless, patient library staff. We can’t thank them enough for their support. We had a great time and hope to be back soon!


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Service