You organization and your stakeholders have worked hard to gain a significant policy win, now what?
Too many times organizations simply move onto the next thing, but if you want to achieve sustained success, you need a plan to thank lawmakers and highlight your victories for the public and your stakeholders.
Let's take the Inflation Reduction Act for example.
When President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, he took some of the most dramatic steps to create jobs, reduce costs for families, and make our air and water more clean.
The legislation was sweeping and comprehensive. Because it covered so many issues it was target rich for policy wins but also overwhelming for advocates, policymakers, and stakeholders to discuss with the public.
Now that we're a ways out from passage and the public is feeling the affects of the bill, how do advocates tell that story?
Define the Goals
First, it's important to define the goals of your campaign. You want to highlight the success of a piece of legislation or a policy victory, but what are your precise goals? Do you want a certain number of press hits? Do you want to influence a lawmaker to issue a statement of support for renewing pieces of the legislation? Do you want to move public opinion?
To effectively highlight policy and legislative victories, advocacy organizations must establish clear objectives and messages. Begin by identifying the key benefits and outcomes of the legislation and distilling them into concise and impactful statements. Frame the messaging in a way that resonates with different stakeholders, legislators, and the general public, emphasizing the tangible ways in which the legislation improves their lives or addresses critical issues.
Set the Targets
Next, you need to determine the targets. Are you speaking with voters in specific congressional districts? Do you want to reach out to decision-makers in the grant making process? Different audiences require tailored messaging to effectively convey the significance of policy and legislative victories.
Stakeholders: Directly engage with stakeholders, such as donors, partners, and members, who have supported the advocacy organization's efforts. Craft personalized messages that demonstrate how their contributions have led to successful outcomes. Highlight the positive impact of the legislation on their specific interests or the community they represent.
Legislators: Develop targeted messaging for legislators involved in the passage of the legislation. Communicate the organization's appreciation for their support and emphasize how the legislation aligns with their constituents' needs. Share success stories and data-backed evidence to demonstrate the legislation's positive effects.
General Public: Simplify complex policy language and highlight the legislation's direct benefits for the general public. Craft relatable stories that illustrate real-world examples of how the policy positively impacts individuals or communities. Utilize engaging and accessible communication channels to reach a wider audience, such as social media platforms, op-eds, and community events.
Conduct Quantitative and Qualitative Research
Support your messaging with compelling data and evidence to establish credibility and demonstrate the tangible impact of policy and legislative victories. Use quantitative data, case studies, and expert analysis to provide a factual foundation for your communication. Visualize data through graphs, infographics, or interactive tools to make complex information more digestible and engaging for your audience.
It's also critically important to conduct qualitative research. Make a database of all of the tangible impacts of the legislation whether it is dollars back in people's pockets or a new manufacturing facility.
This will allow you to find stories and to start to create a storybank of compelling stories that will help you to communicate success and build a narrative.
For example, when I worked for Gov. Wolf we tracked economic development investments and highlighted new buildings and renovations as the process moved along. We were able to provide reporters and content creators with a visual of the success of our policy proposals and investments.
Once you have goals, targets, and research you can start to deploy tactics to tell your story and highlight your success.
Develop Unique Content
First, you must create foundational content for all of your storytelling and outreach. You should use your objectives, targets, and research to build talking points, message boxes, one pagers, scripts and other written collateral. Write informative posts and articles that highlight the impact and success of the Inflation Reduction Act. Include data, case studies, and expert analysis to provide a comprehensive overview. Using these documents, you can start to develop graphics and videos that can be used across platforms to highlight your success.
Collaborate with Influencers and Experts
Leverage the power of influencers and experts in the field to amplify your message and reach a broader audience. Identify individuals who have a strong following or expertise in the policy area relevant to your legislative victory. Collaborate with them to create joint content, host webinars or panels, or facilitate discussions that highlight the positive implications of the legislation. This partnership not only expands your reach but also enhances the credibility and impact of your message.
Engage in Thoughtful Media Outreach
Develop a targeted media outreach strategy to secure earned media coverage and further amplify your message. Craft compelling press releases, pitches, and media kits that highlight the key aspects of the legislation and its impact on different stakeholders. Personalize your outreach efforts to cater to the specific interests of journalists and reporters covering your policy area. Offer expert spokespersons who can provide insights and commentary to reinforce the importance of the legislative victory.
Utilize Digital Channels and Multimedia Content
Harness the power of digital channels to effectively communicate your policy and legislative victories. Develop a visually appealing and user-friendly website that prominently showcases the legislation's impact. Create multimedia content, such as videos or interactive tools, to engage your audience and deliver your message in diverse formats. Actively participate in social media platforms to foster dialogue, share success stories,