Advocacy is a popular topic in our day and age, and it encompasses many different things. Every association has its own priorities, experiences, and goals, and we're here to help you level up your advocacy efforts to ensure you can continue making an impact! Read on to see how you can up-level your advocacy initiatives.
- Listen and discuss with your members.
Advocacy begins at an individual level and requires empathy to hear and understand different peoples’ experiences, perspectives, and insights. For associations, this starts within your own organization, teams, and peer groups. For leaders, set aside time to have conversations with your members. This could be in the form of a 1:1 video call or even a 1-hour open discussion with your direct team. Even if you're not in a position of leadership, consider reaching out to your leaders to raise topics for discussion. Once your team is able to rally together on core issues, your stance on advocacy will only be stronger.
- Research and reflect regularly.
It's important to have solid facts and findings to back your advocacy initiatives and to have support and buy-in from the communities you are helping, whether internally or externally. Make it a habit to do regular check-ins with yourself, your team, and your members to ensure you're staying on track to meet your advocacy goals and reset if necessary!
- Host sessions to address issues at large.
Panels, town halls, and fireside chats are a great way to encourage discussion and raise awareness around issues facing your association. Bring in speakers who are experts in the topic you are advocating for and field a Q&A with your members. Consider bringing together your leadership to host an open discussion about how you are working together to solve problems and enact change and how your members can help. All of this can be done virtually, too, of course!
- Encourage and support local volunteer initiatives.
No problem is too small to tackle. Sometimes the greatest impact can be made in the smallest of places. Look to see how you can support programs and projects led by your chapter and city leaders, i.e. through funding or marketing. Share these stories throughout the rest of your organization, and who knows, it might just inspire another program in another place!
- Celebrate and share stories through your digital channels.
Social media is a powerful tool, and learning how to harness it for good can be a worthwhile step for your association. The stories that get shared on these platforms can come from your own people! Document the inspirational content you are gathering from your teams, conversations, and partnerships and transform them into visual and even audible stories that can be shared across different channels.
Advocacy is likely one of the more important pieces of your association’s model, and it’s important to get credit for all the great work you’re doing to support your industry. Use these tips to make the most of your programs, and to delight and engage your members.
For more ideas on getting members involved with your association both online and off, be sure to sign up to attend digitalNow in December. It’s a meeting of top association minds you won’t want to miss!