The National Association of Counties turns members into advocates by doubling the value of their trip to Washington, DC.
How to hack it? In Washington, DC, advocacy can be more meaningful and effective when your members are there to back it up. But you don’t want to waste their time or travel budgets. To maximize member advocacy, the National Association of Counties (NACo) organizes Hill visits during its annual Legislative Conference, held near the U.S. Capitol.
Why it works? The two-for-one trip makes the most of the DC fly-in, providing a learning opportunity that overlaps with advocacy work. NACo also makes sure members who participate in Hill visits are well supported. Even if a member visits outside of regularly scheduled meetings, the association keeps an open-door policy, providing office space as well as briefing materials for meetings with lawmakers. “We also encourage members to take advantage of help available from NACo staff when they visit,” says Andrew Goldschmidt, director of membership marketing at NACo. “Members can stop by our DC office to coordinate efforts and talking points.”
What is the bonus? A two-for-one visit not only saves members’ time and money, but it also boosts opportunities for face-to-face engagement between members of Congress and NACo staff. And members who participate in Hill visits and benefit from the legislative conference on the same trip are more likely to be repeat visitors, Goldschmidt says.