The digital transformation of advocacy and public affairs has been rapidly sped up by the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Virtual fly-ins and meetings with members of Congress, and completely online networking events all seemed impossible in any of our lifetimes. But, while government relations and advocacy have been rapidly digitizing over the years, the digital transformation of government affairs is now officially here — and the teams with the most advanced technology are pushing ahead.
Here at FiscalNote, as a technology company created to connect people to their governments and the policy-making world, we’d like to think we’re part of the reason government and public affairs professionals have been able to continue to manage their issues remotely, relatively unhindered. 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. With 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 seven ways technology can change the way your government and public affairs team can gain a competitive edge and get some big wins on the board — without ever leaving your home office.
1. 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 searching for hours to find the pertinent legislation and regulations affecting your industry, or hoping that another organization can update you accordingly, you need to know that you’ll be alerted by email to anything relevant to the issues you’re monitoring. And you need to be able to do that everywhere — from local ordinances, all the way through statehouses, Capitol Hill, and on a global level.
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 User 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 such as the agency, agency staff contact information, 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.
2. 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 early in 2020 — 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 solid technology solution like FiscalNote lets you message colleagues, store notes and important documents on interactions and updates, and monitor the news and relevant 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 a workflow management and team collaboration software 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 misplaced spreadsheet, email, or text message from a coworker.
FiscalNote User 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.
3. 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 User 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, and add contacts to your online workspace by scanning a business card directly using the FiscalNote app.
4. Identify Who Can Help or Hinder Your Efforts — Stakeholder Management Technology
Stakeholders are the people or organizations you rely 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 whom can be a difficult task even for the most seasoned government and public affairs professional. Stakeholder management solutions such as FiscalNote allow teams to be able to keep track of everyone and identify new allies and key opponents to your organization’s strategy.
FiscalNote User 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. Or tap into FiscalNote’s 60,000+ contact details for officeholders and staffers in the U.S. and their 6,000+ counterparts in the EU.
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5. 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 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, all from one single platform.
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 User 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.
6. Prioritize Social Media Before It’s Too Late — Social Media Monitoring Technology
With public office holders tweeting, and a 24/7 news cycle, what happens online and on social media platforms tends to be the topic of the day and what ultimately becomes the priority for the country — even if for just a day or two. The most advanced government relations and advocacy teams are prioritizing social media monitoring solutions to see what their stakeholders are saying online, so when it comes time to make decisions that affect the bottom line or constituent concerns, these teams are already aware of the pulse and tone of the country and legislators.
FiscalNote User Pro Tip: FiscalNote’s social media monitoring tools allow teams to drill down quickly to find the tweets of 4,000+ legislators that matter most. Search for tweets by person, handle, hashtag, keyword, government branch, jurisdiction, or political party, or what others are saying about them, to find the data that matches your criteria.
7. Show The Value You Bring to Local Communities — District Mapping Technology
You already know the value you bring to communities where you have assets. But do the elected officials in those districts understand? The most advanced government and public affairs teams can quickly and visually, with data-rich reports and infographics, demonstrate the value they bring state and congressional lawmakers’ in the constituencies where their offices, manufacturing plants, stores, or supply chain warehouses are.
FiscalNote User Pro Tip: FiscalNote’s district map solution allows teams to understand what their organization’s footprint is in congressional and state legislative districts. It provides teams an overlay of lawmakers’ districts with your business assets to show the importance of your business inside their district and to educate them as to why they should prioritize your goals.
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