With many organizations struggling to interface with elected officials across the country, the Electronic Security Association (ESA) quickly realized it had to innovate and discover new ways to inform its members and drive its legislative and regulatory goals with the help of a modernized virtual fly-in strategy.
ESA is the largest association in the electronic security and life safety industry (think fire detection, video surveillance, and other related alarm monitoring services) representing member companies that employ more than 500,000 industry professionals and serve more than 34 million residential and commercial clients. To advocate for their members during mandated lockdowns and social distancing restrictions, ESA needed a way to get the right information out to their members without them having to leave their homes.
A Paradigm Shift and the Tools for a Successful Pivot
“COVID-19 shifted the paradigm and made us think outside the box. We had been doing fly-ins and in-person district weeks where our members would actually go to the district offices of members of Congress since 2018. Because of COVID-19, we knew we needed to focus on cost-saving, and we knew it was time to innovate,” says Chris Heaton, vice president of advocacy and public affairs for ESA.
Enter FiscalNote and VoterVoice, the two platforms that would help drive ESA’s virtual fly-in strategy as well as allow for easier communication and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders.
ESA needed to find the most up-to-date contact information for lawmakers that were eager to meet with the electronic security industry, schedule meetings with lawmakers and their staff, and provide their members and their elected representatives with the most relevant information to drive their legislative agenda.
“For us, we typically have about 60 members that register to meet with their members of Congress and team, so we organized and scheduled up to 180 meetings through VoterVoice for our virtual fly-in and district week. We wanted to add something to create value for everyone involved and provide something interactive. VoterVoice allowed us to schedule roundtable meetings and take the town halls that we used to do in-person and move them entirely online,” says Heaton.
360-Degree Approach with a Mobile Experience
With VoterVoice, ESA was able to coordinate their fly-in and district weeks with the mobile app to send consistent talking points to membership and set up a two-way communication strategy to receive notes about each meeting with lawmakers. By streamlining their virtual events, ESA was able to organize RSVPs, communicate talking points, and receive follow-up notes from their membership on how the meeting with various legislators and their staff went as well as relevant next steps.
“For every meeting, we set up for our membership, we provided them with resources all compiled into one member packet that they could pull up on the VoterVoice app that had information on the legislation affecting our industry and what our priorities were. We’ve been tracking about 1,500 bills this year as our top priorities through the FiscalNote platform,” says Heaton.
Through the cross-collaboration between FiscalNote and VoterVoice, Heaton was able to monitor thousands of pieces of legislation, compile them into easily accessible and shareable weekly reports and leave-behinds to send to both internal and external stakeholders, and then activate his membership to connect with their networks and representatives on the legislation affecting their industry, specifically during the virtual fly-ins and district weeks.
“When our members are at district week or doing a virtual fly-in, they can have everything on their phone because of the VoterVoice mobile app. Having all the information they need from FiscalNote right in front of them allowed our meetings to flow and stay on topic. We got more meetings with actual members of Congress as a result of switching to a virtual strategy with FiscalNote and VoterVoice,” says Heaton.
Conducting a Perfect Fly-In with FiscalNote and VoterVoice
One of the main differentiators for why ESA decided to leverage both FiscalNote and VoterVoice was the ease of use, simple set-up, and a low barrier to entry for members with all different levels of technological expertise and skills.
“The key for us was finding a solution that could work with both extremes: We have members with very little experience with technology exposure and members that live off the latest and greatest technology. FiscalNote and VoterVoice allowed us to meet the needs of the entire spectrum of our members,” Heaton adds.
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