CQ Rollcall: 70 Experts Share Their Best Advocacy Planning, Strategy, Skills and Training Tips


I was proud to be asked to share my experience with other professionals in CQ Roll Call:

How would you like to have your own personal government relations or advocacy mentor on speed dial?

Even, if you’d been in the business for years?

Well, we’re about to give you the next best thing.

We conducted 70, (yes, 70!) interviews with some of the leading minds in the worlds of government relations, nonprofit, advocacy, public policy, and fundraising, and asked them four pertinent questions:

  • What advocacy skill have I learned over time, or do I wish I had my first day on the job?
  • Having tried a bunch, the best advocacy strategy I rely on is …?
  • When I’m planning an advocacy campaign, the first thing I always do is … 
  • What would be the most useful advocacy training?

Just FYI, we asked them a bunch of other questions too, and we’ll give you the full picture of what they had to say soon (including epic campaign fails and successes) – but more of that good stuff later.

For now, here’s a taster of some of the best advocacy strategies, tips and tricks they’ve learned from many collective years toiling in the world of legislation and advocacy.

And when you’ve finished reading, don’t forget to download our great free eBook: The Advocacy Planning, Strategy and Skills Guide.

Finally, to everyone who took part, a big thank you!

And to everyone reading, this is one you’ll want to bookmark!

What’s the greatest advocacy skill I’ve learned over time, or what advocacy skill do I wish I had had the first day on the job?

The importance of remaining calm, no matter the circumstances. In any situation, there is often more time and more chances to succeed than may appear – Dan Colegrove, President, ACME Public Affairs

Some people take naturally to planning and organizational skills. I was not one of those people when I was younger. In my case, I simply outworked everyone else so that I succeeded without any problems. But I probably could have saved myself some of that work if I had been a little more methodical. – Dan Colegrove, President, ACME Public Affairs

Foreign Influence

This week, President Trump announced that the United States would no longer be bound by provisions of the Paris Agreement on climate change. If this came as a surprise it shouldn’t have as candidate Trump made it clear in 2016 that he would pursue this course if elected President.

Regardless of his prior statements, interest groups on both sides of the issue ratcheted up the pressure on the President in the weeks leading up to his announcement. Because of the global nature of the Paris Agreement, this included significant pressure from organizations and individual outside the US.

While much of this was merely public statements in the media pleading a case, there were quieter efforts from overseas interests that may have played a role in the decision. For instance, a group of elected officials from several countries penned a formal letter to the President urging him to withdraw from the agreement. The letter which was published in the media gave a number of reasons why their position made sense from a global point of view.

Whether the President or White House staff saw this letter is unknown. However, I am friendly with one of the authors of the letter and with his approval I made certain that a copy was provided to some Cabinet members who I thought would be supportive of their argument.

I made no recommendation regarding the letter and neither asked for or received compensation for my efforts. But I do have reason to believe that said letter was delivered to those agency heads. Did it have an impact on the ultimate decision? I think it may have.

My point in all of this is that there are ways to broaden one’s reputation by making oneself useful in an appropriate manner. This may be especially true for individuals and organizations based outside the US who find our way of influencing policy confusing at best.

Don’t be afraid to be a tour guide, you never know who you might meet.

Food Fight! Inside the Minimum Wage War

Food Fight! Inside the Minimum Wage War

You’ve probably noticed a lot of media attention swirling around calls for a higher minimum wage lately. Groups such as Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15 are demanding a $15 per-hour minimum wage for fast food workers and organizing employee walkouts in cities across the nation. Meanwhile, employers and their business group allies are doing everything they can to resist these demands, pleading that their margins are already slim and higher labor costs will cripple them.

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