The Secret Sauce for Making Your Virtual Advocacy Stand Out

If the pandemic proved anything about the pressure on lawmakers and regulators, it was that everyone had an emergency ask — for funding, operational flexibilities, and more. Plato was right about necessity being the mother of invention. Even industries that had been slow to embrace virtual technology, seemingly figured it out overnight, and since then, there has been unprecedented competition getting policy makers’ attention.

Credit unions’ advocacy messaging will stand out and break through the clutter.

The Northwest Credit Union Association will serve up some “secret sauce” Feb. 9, at the Virtual Idaho Credit Union Day at the Capitol.

Dan Lavey, President of Gallatin Public Affairs, and Paul Rainey, Principal, will offer engaging and effective tips during a special presentation, “Innovation While Advocating in a Brave New World.” For 30 years, Gallatin has guided strategies that helped Northwest credit unions, healthcare providers, the forest services industry, and other business groups, to win policy battles.

“The old-fashioned model was to build advocacy around when the legislature is in session,” Lavey said. “The reality is, that could be one of the worst times for outreach because their time is limited and there is a lot of demand for their attention.”

Breaking through the clutter has only become more difficult in the virtual age. While Idaho’s Capitol building is open to the public, the ability to connect face-to-face with legislators is very limited. Other Northwest Capitol buildings and federal facilities are currently closed to the public. Eventually, statehouse doors and the federal Capitol building will open again to the public, but Lavey notes, the convenience of virtual communications — and the competition that comes with it — is here to stay.

This past year, Lavey has seen examples of advocacy successfully transitioned to a virtual, 365 days-a-year strategy that reaches policy makers in their professional and personal lives, 24/7.

“They have taken the best of in-person meeting experiences and have personalized them for the digital age,” Lavey said. “You can use a variety of digital tools and platforms to surround policy makers so you’re not putting your advocacy messages in a single basket or mechanism.”

NWCUA has had a long-standing “360-degree” advocacy strategy in which the advocacy team and credit unions are providing regular and consistent messaging to elected officials about the importance of credit unions’ policy issues.

“We are continuing and enhancing that strategy in this new era,” said Ryan Fitzgerald, NWCUA’s Vice President, Legislative Affairs for Idaho. “It’s exciting that digital platforms provide the Credit Union Movement with more opportunities to engage, and to have our messages stand out.”

When Lavey and Rainey join Idaho advocates next month, they will share additional strategies to help credit unions localize and personalize their digital messaging across many platforms.

The virtual setting means any credit union employee passionate about the Movement can learn and have a voice. Attend the Virtual Idaho Credit Union Day at the Capitol and hear more about:

  • Digital strategies to stay connected with policymakers beyond normal advocacy channels;
  • Avoiding “tone deaf” fails by being aware of the political and economic environment;
  • Leveraging the relationships, beyond financial, that credit unions have with their members; and
  • Tapping into non-members who may have a philosophical affinity for what credit unions stand for.

The Virtual Idaho Credit Union Day at the Capitol, sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group, takes place Feb. 9 from 9:30 a.m. to noon MST. Register online today.

Posted in Advocacy News.