Auto Care Association Launches Grassroots Advocacy Effort

To get more of its members excited about participating in advocacy-related work, the Auto Care Association launched its Auto Care Hometown Summit initiative.

The Auto Care Association launched a new advocacy initiative, called the Auto Care Hometown Summit, with two goals: getting more association members involved in grassroots advocacy and making more legislators aware of the value the auto care industry brings to towns and communities.

As most government affairs professionals know, you need to really leverage that constituent-legislator relationship as well if you want to truly move the needle.

“We at the association have been trying to find new creative ways to get our members excited about grassroots advocacy mostly back in the district or state,” said David Pinkham, manager of government affairs at the Auto Care Association. “We’ve had tremendous success getting support for our DC lobbying efforts and candidate fundraising through our PAC, but as most government affairs professionals know, you need to really leverage that constituent-legislator relationship as well if you want to truly move the needle.”

The announcement of the Hometown Summit initiative comes after a successful Auto Care Legislative Summit, which took place in October 2017 in Washington, DC.

“Because we’re not hosting our next fly-in until fall 2019, we wanted to kind of sustain that enthusiasm and really structure a program that encouraged attendees from the fly-in, as well as others who couldn’t come to DC, to take the next step to follow up with their legislators back at home in the district,” Pinkham said.

With this initiative, the association is hoping to alleviate two main concerns that members tend to have when considering grassroots advocacy. The first is time commitment.

“We have a lot of CEOs, small business owners, sales directors—and for them, time is their most valuable asset,” Pinkham said. “So we’re making it clear to them that ‘Hey, this is something we’ll help you with every step of the way. We have the resources ready for you. We’ll help you with the agenda, everything. You just have to dedicate an hour the day of to actually make the meeting happen. We’ll take care of everything else.’”

The second concern is that they don’t want to be seen as supporting one candidate over another. But the association is hoping to communicate to members that these meetings are about creating relationships and telling their legislators what their business and the industry at-large is all about.

Along with increasing the number of in-district meetings between members and legislators, the Auto Care Association hopes the summit makes members more comfortable with grassroots advocacy in general.

“We have a vast membership and large industry that we represent,” Pinkham said. “In pretty much every town in America, you can find one of our members, … so this is part of a broader campaign that our association is doing to try and get our members together and be more engaged in advocating on behalf of the industry.”

(AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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