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9 Ways Your Association Can Make The Most Of An Election-Year Congress

Around this time of year, government relations professionals are meeting in their respective associations and coming to the same conclusion: because it’s an election year, congressional productivity will grind to a halt sooner rather than later. However, this doesn’t mean that your work has to suffer.

Around this time of year, government relations professionals are meeting in their respective associations and coming to the same conclusion: because it’s an election year, congressional productivity will grind to a halt sooner rather than later. However, this doesn’t mean that your work has to suffer.

Here are 9 ways your association can maintain productivity when Congress is focused on campaigning:

  1. Evaluate your advocacy agenda. Take a good look at what you’ve been able to achieve during this session of Congress and what lessons were learned.
  2. Focus on the state/local/regulatory initiatives. Even if Congress doesn’t get much work done, there’s plenty of work on the state/local/regulatory levels.
  3. Grow your grassroots base. This is a great time to engage your members in your grassroots activities. Identify those members who have participated in past legislative alerts and encourage them to join your grassroots network.
  4. Shore up your Congressional supporters. Unlike the House of Representatives, only a percentage of the Senate is up for reelection during an election year. That gives you a number of Senators not affected by the upcoming election to reach out to. Set up meetings to discuss future initiatives.
  5. Get your grassroots advocates to town early. Many groups bring their association members on the Hill in March or April. If you tend to wait until the fall to avoid the crowds, you may be too late. As Congress returns from their August recess, their attention is back at home with the campaign.
  6. Advocate! Just because you’re likely looking at a shorter session this year doesn’t mean work won’t get done on Capitol Hill. Don’t put off your legislative priority.
  7. Keep your association members informed. Despite their attention to their campaigns, Members of congress are still working. Let your members know what staff is working on and what will likely be priorities for the next Congress.
  8. Prepare for the lame duck session of Congress. The period of time after the election and before Congress adjourns sine die (marking the end of the two-year congressional session) is traditionally known as the lame duck session. The lame duck typically last a few weeks prior to the end of the year. Some sessions are more productive than others.  By the fall of an election year, associations will have an idea of what direction a lame duck session will go.
  9. Plan for the next session of Congress. A new Congress brings new faces and priorities. Plan accordingly.

*Image by examiner.com

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