Thursday Buzz: Association Leaders Eye Aggressive Lobbying Strategies

The next generation of trade group execs aren't afraid of more aggressive lobbying tactics, The Washington Post reports. Plus: Uber's latest feature could be perfect for #eventprofs with a lot of guests to ship around.

Watch out. It’s getting a bit tense in the association lobbying space.

Showing a possible “new normal” in the way groups are lobbying, younger association leaders are more willing to try unconventional approaches, The Washington Post reports.

There are media campaigns, undercover work, and state-level lobbying that all amount to what the Post calls “unorthodox lobbying tactics.”

“As a younger association leader ‚Ķ I’m in a different life station,” 46-year-old Rob Nichols of the American Bankers Association said. “I love the life station I’m in but it’s a different one than someone might anticipate with an association CEO.”

For example, the American Gaming Association (AGA) secretly filmed illegal gambling to share with law enforcement agencies and policy makers in the hopes they will crack down on such operations. That was done under the leadership of Geoff Freeman, AGA’s 40-year-old CEO and president.

“It’s a new way to bring light to the issue,” Freeman stated.

Another trade group is pushing politically at the local and state level before charging into Washington. Katherine Lugar of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) is leading a massive effort in which advocacy is treated “more like a political campaign than traditional lobbying” by taking “to the states first,” she said, and “helping our industry drive our story and being more proactive.”

The strategy seems to be working, as AHLA has doubled its revenue to $14 million and nearly tripled its membership to 23,000 members in the past year.

So, risk and aggressiveness may be something worth considering for your association.

Uber for Events


Having an event? Call on Uber for everyone who is coming. Really. The company’s new UberEVENTS service allows organizers to pay for attendees’ rides to and from the event. The service helps rein in costs by only charging event organizers for those who actually use the service.

Maybe it’s something for your association’s next event. You’d be the cool kid on the block.

Links for Your Day

You have a great idea, but it gets squashed by a micromanager. Bad news, but don’t fret. It’s still possible to air your ideas without sounding like you are challenging authority, Lifehacker‘s Eric Ravenscraft writes.

Like your phone and want to boost your leadership skills? Shawn Murphy, CEO and founder of Switch & Shift, has 10 mobile apps that leaders should keep at the ready.

Shut it down. A sleek new device, Circle with Disney, lets homeowners simply and easily control kids’¬†internet access. Check it out.

Geoff Freeman, CEO of the American Gaming Association. (Handout photo)

Patrick deHahn

By Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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