Public interest lobbying and public relations firm Rapoza Associates helps its clients — most of them community development organizations — make the case for and get their issues in front of Congress. “Much of our work is help our members describe the impact of their community development work,” says Paul Anderson, vice president at Rapoza Associates. “Get them in front of members of Congress at a ribbon-cutting or groundbreaking. Our experience is that once a member of Congress sees a community development project firsthand and visits with those involved to hear about the impact in the community, they often become supporters.”
The firm works with organizations such as the National Rural Housing Coalition, the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition, the Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions, and the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program, RCAPs, and Community Development Corporations, among others. Its clients are all across the country, so staying on top of the variety of topics, issues, and legislation that matter for this diverse set of clients can be a challenge. But, as Anderson explains it, his team leverages technology to better serve their clients and never miss a beat on the issues that matter.
“We use CQ Federal to track legislation, developments, and keywords from hearings. We need to stay on top of things. These alerts serve as an information source for not just us, but also, congressional staff,” he says.
Real-Time Updates from Capitol Hill
The Rapoza Associates team of seven starts their day with CQ Federal and news and analysis as part of their morning routine. Part of the white-glove service they offer their clients is being the first in letting them know what’s happening in Washington, D.C. CQ’s speed at delivering intelligence directly from Capitol Hill is of utmost importance to the Rapoza Associates team.
“Getting transcripts, an alert, or a news story [in CQ] is extremely useful because we just want to get people the right information as quickly as we can,” Anderson says. “If somebody says something on the floor or mentions the issues you’re working on, it's nice to have it pop up in a timely manner.”
Cutting Through the Noise
Another real benefit Rapoza Associates reaps from CQ is how the tool’s advanced search helps them cut out the noise and be able to focus on what’s important for their clients.
“Occasionally, alerts can be surprising. A member of Congress might mention one program during a floor speech, we’ll get an alert from CQ, and it’ll be the first time we learned that member was interested in the issue. The alert lets us follow up and find out how more about their interest in the issue. That kind of intel is super useful,” Anderson adds.
Rapoza Associates uses CQ to keep close track of the budget and appropriations process from the moment of the president’s request, through all of the appropriations debates, tracking draft appropriations bills before they even have official numbers. “CQ gets those documents really quickly right off the press,” says Anderson.
With CQ’s award-winning newsroom providing non-partisan analysis on every aspect of the appropriations cycle, Anderson’s team has been successful in staying on top of all developments from Capitol Hill that could present risk or opportunity to their clients, helping them achieve tangible results.
“We are very excited by the recent successes of our clients. For example, the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund keeps getting funding increases, year after year,” says Anderson. He explains CDFIs have had appropriations between $100 and $270 million over the past decade and a half but Congress recently approved $12 billion in the rescue package in December to CDFIs and other community lenders, to ensure that a big portion of the rescue funding gets to the pandemic’s hardest-hit areas such as low-income communities.
“The CDFIs are having kind of a moment,” Anderson adds, and Rapoza Associates has been at the forefront by leveraging CQ to help their clients in community development organizations get in front of Congress and push their issues forward.
Proving the Value
CQ Federal’s precision alerts are the biggest reason Rapoza Associates relies on the tool. It delivers the team the exact legislative updates they’re after, making sure they never miss an important update for their clients.
“We want to give them information that's prioritized and useful and concise and give them action steps and what they can do to help bring about a policy that supports community development,” Anderson adds.
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