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Government Relations Technology: How the Well-Equipped Are Pulling Ahead

by Content Team, FiscalNote

Below are five ways technology can help your government and public affairs teams gain a competitive edge and get some big wins on the board - without ever leaving your home office.

It goes without saying that, whatever your profession, if you’re working from home you're more reliant on technology than ever. From basic electricity to high-speed Wi-Fi, to your virtual meeting platform of choice, the very fact we live in 2020 has made it possible for a lot of us to continue to do our jobs as smoothly — early bumps excluded — as we have. 

Here at FiscalNote, as a technology company created to serve folks in the policy-making world, we’d like to think we’re part of the reason government and public affairs clients have been able to continue to manage their issues remotely, relatively unabashed, for the last 12 weeks or so. If anything, those in government relations who already had robust technology systems, spread out teams, and cultures open to remote working, have set themselves up for greater successes than those who relied more heavily on shoe-leather lobbying.

That’s good news for them, but not necessarily bad news for everyone else. As we settle into this new normal of distanced teams, virtual meetings with lawmakers and staffers, and digital advocacy and lobbying, more and more government relations teams are firming up their technology stacks. And even better, many are discovering that mitigating risk and finding opportunities is a whole lot less stressful when you let the tech do the work for you. 

Below are five ways technology can help your government and public affairs teams gain a competitive edge and get some big wins on the board — without ever leaving your home office.

Never Miss a Bill or Regulation Again — Tracking & Monitoring Technology

First things first. Missing a bill or regulation can cost your organization both financially and reputationally. At a very minimum you need a technology solution, preferably with a respected newsroom attached, to make sure you never miss a bill, or policy analysis again.

Instead of combing for hours finding the pertinent legislation and regulations affecting your industry, or hoping that another organization is able to update you accordingly, you need to know that you’ll be alerted by email to anything relevant to the issues you’re monitoring. 

That cradle to grave monitoring of the lifecycle of every piece of legislation and regulation that affects your industry, will save you grey hairs and free you up to work on the next important part of the puzzle — getting stakeholders on the same page and planning your attack strategy. 

FiscalNote Pro Tip:
Teams can get access to the most up-to-date information about bills, legislators, and committees without navigating multiple government websites. For regulations, get all basic information about the regulation such as state agency, agency staff contact information, state regulation ID number, hearing information, all the associated documents containing the rule text, and a timeline of events on that rule for what has happened as well as what stage in its lifecycle it’s in.

Achieve Seamless Collaboration — Internal Workflow Technology

Given how quickly public policy issues can progress — just look at COVID-19 bills and the 2,000 executive orders issued in just 12 weeks, fostering internal company alignment around them all — across 50 states or multiple continents - is harder than ever without a single technology solution. 

You need to be able to collaborate across different time zones and parts of the world in real-time. A good technology solution like FiscalNote lets you message colleagues, store notes and important documents, and monitor the news and important legislative and regulatory developments all in one place. The ability to react quickly and effectively to the right information at the right time can make all the difference for organizations spread out across the globe or country and surrounded by a 24/7 news cycle. 

By implementing an internal communication system integrated with the rest of your organization's departments, your team will create a unified workspace where various teams can get an overview of what’s happening across different geographies and departments. Teams no longer have to worry about missing critical information due to a missing spreadsheet, email, or text message from a teammate. 

FiscalNote Pro Tip:
Using “@-mentioning" is an easy, effective way to make sure the right people see your questions or answers for relevant issues, quickly.

To make a comment or ask a question to a specific person on your team, type the “@“ symbol and start typing that person’s name — FiscalNote will show you a list of potential matches you can choose from. Select the person you’re looking for, and then enter your message. That person will then receive an in-app notification and an email about your message in real-time. 

Stay Agile and Active at All Times — Mobile Apps

You need to be able to manage your issues from the palm of your hand. 
Whether that’s monitoring and tracking legislation, pulling up the history of interactions with external stakeholders, such as legislators and their staff, or reading a brief or policy update. It needs to be easy to access, find, and use from your phone. 

FiscalNote Pro Tip:
On your iOS or Android devices, search for U.S. state and federal bills, look up legislators and their staff contact information, be alerted to updates on the bills you’re following, add contacts to your online workspace by scanning in a business card directly using FiscalNote.

Identify Who Can Help and Hinder You — Stakeholder Management Technology

Stakeholders are the people or organizations your organization relies on to drive your legislative and regulatory agenda. They can be legislators, their staff, important grassroots or grasstops advocates and leaders, or even heads of industry across the country that support your public policy issues.

Keeping track of all of these stakeholders and joining the dots as to who is connected to who can be a difficult task even for the most seasoned government and public affairs professional. Technology solutions like FiscalNote allow teams to be able to keep track of everyone and identify new allies and key opponents to your organization’s strategy. 

FiscalNote Pro Tip:
Create custom people and/or organization pages in FiscalNote for your team to monitor and follow. Add names, titles, roles, emails, phone numbers, addresses, and more to create a repository of your entire network. 

Activate Your Grassroots & Show Results — A 360-degree Advocacy Technology

Speed is of the essence for many grassroots campaigns. Now that shoe-leather lobbying is on the back foot, pardon the pun, getting your issues in front of lawmakers virtually is more important than ever. 

Tools like FiscalNote’s advocacy suite let teams activate their network of grassroots and grasstops advocates by launching campaigns in as little as 10 minutes. You can then continue to educate supporters, members, employees, and donors through newsletters, online surveys, and legislative scorecards all year round. 

By adopting a 360-degree advocacy solution, teams can target three key groups in one campaign. Activate your grassroots, build up supporters where you’re thin on the ground, and get your message in front of lawmakers all in one, technologically-driven, approach.

FiscalNote Pro Tip: FiscalNote is the only company on the market that can simultaneously give you an advocacy software solution, an advocate acquisition tool, and direct exposure to decision-makers on Capitol Hill through media advertising — in one bundled package.

    The premier issues management platform

    Stay on top of all your policy and stakeholder needs with FiscalNote