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End-of-Session Reports Highlight the Value of State Government Affairs

by Adam Stone, FiscalNote

Maximize your state government affairs impact with a strategic end-of-session report. Showcase legislative wins, inform future strategies, and prove your ROI.

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As state legislatures start to adjourn, now is the time for state government affairs professionals to showcase all your work and accomplishments.

Leveraging a state sessions wrap-up report can highlight wins, demonstrate the impact of your work on your organization’s goals and stakeholders, and inform strategic thinking going forward.

With strategic analysis and compelling storytelling, you can showcase your achievements during the 2024 state legislative sessions and demonstrate the pivotal role you play in helping your organization navigate a complex political landscape.

End-of-Session Reporting Best Practices

End-of-state-session reports offer a significant opportunity for state government affairs teams.

“The doctors that I represent want to know what is going to impact them, based on what was passed in the legislatures,” says Sandy Guenther, manager of state government affairs and advocacy engagement at the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

At the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), Director for State Government Affairs Belawoe Akwakoku looks to these reports to show how state lobbying efforts align with organizational priorities. With “an overview of priority legislation that has moved, and legislation that we've been tracking, it shows that our priorities reflect our strategic plan and our mission,” he says.

The Building Blocks for a Successful State Government Affairs Strategy

Learn how technology can help you discover and monitor state legislative and regulatory developments, manage relationships with stakeholders, and more.

To achieve those ends, reports need to be comprehensive — not only charting the wins but also explaining the misses.

To highlight victories, Guenther leverages FiscalNote’s state legislative tracking. When she writes the report, “it really helps us to remember what happened three or six or nine months down the road, especially in some of these states where sessions are done by the spring,” but the report gets written later, she says.

As for the misses, Akwakoku uses the report to create some perspective. “We frame them in a way that says: We do have other opportunities to do this. We always have next year,” he says. He uses FiscalNote to compare similar bills across the country, “and when we see a whole bunch of states filing the same bill, we can highlight that, and it provides some context for why it did or didn't pass.”

All of this helps government affairs to demonstrate ROI. “We always want to move legislation that helps our members, and this report helps to show that we're doing our job, and the rate of return on that,” Akwakoku says.

The Importance of Visual Storytelling

Compelling visuals play a key role in that effort. “As we get into different parts of the country, it helps to have maps showing where legislation was successful, where legislation was introduced and what we commented on, as well as different charts and graphs of what is passing, by category,” he says.

Overall, “graphics are eye-catching, they are attractive to folks who need the color and the presentation and the packaging,” Akwakoku adds. “It can’t just all be text. You need graphs and pictures and diagrams to show what you're doing and make it more digestible.”

Key Components of an Effective End-of-Session Report

With reports tailored to internal stakeholders’ values, and perhaps even customized to meet the needs of specific audiences, government affairs can tell a compelling story. The end product will likely highlight:

  • Legislative activity: Summarizing key legislation and regulatory changes

  • Engagement activities: Detailing meetings with policymakers, and other advocacy efforts

  • Outcomes and impact: Including changes in legislation, regulation, or policy that benefit the organization, or relationships built, and tying all that back to the organization’s goals

  • Future outlook: Providing insights into upcoming legislative trends and potential challenges in the next session

That future-looking piece is significant. You can elevate your value in the organization by helping leadership use the report to support strategic planning.

For example, insights from the report can inform the next state session’s goals and tactics. “We host a state lobbyist conference every year, and a lot of our agenda is based on the information from the previous year. We identify that through the FiscalNote tracking system and include it in the report,” which helps inform the conference agenda, Guenther says.

Akwakoku takes a similar approach. “We have several steering committee meetings where we make sure that it's presented. I make internal presentations with it as well,” he says. This, in turn, helps facilitate discussions and align organizational objectives with state government affairs strategies.

You can use the end-of-state-sessions report to build a case for resources, showing the need for continued or increased investment in government affairs activities.

How to Leverage Technology to Highlight Your ROI After State Sessions

Technology can help you produce the kind of report that effectively highlights the value of your efforts.

FiscalNote's dynamic reporting tools, for example, make it easy to create highly visual reports that offer an at-a-glance view of relationships, key policy points, and the team’s relevant activities.

Visualization tools help you demonstrate your team’s influence over priority bills and paint a comprehensive picture of outcomes. Policy mapping tools, for instance, help depict the policies your team is tracking in a way that engages your key stakeholders. “FiscalNote allows us to connect to different email lists. It creates a link that which is shareable, and we're able to spread that around to our members,” Akwakoku says.

With strong visualizations, supported by robust tracking and data analysis, the end-of-state-sessions report offers a way to prove the ROI of your state government affairs function. This helps you demonstrate what you’ve done during these pivotal months and what it means to your organization.

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