An Executive Director's point of view


March 27, 2017: Advocacy

The goal of advocacy is to identify decision-makers, determine what it will take to influence them (legally and ethically, of course), and execute a plan to do that.

The tactics will vary from one situation to another and will likely include a number of activities of unequal importance.

Two tactics members may rush to embrace are often the least important - legislative testimony and collection of petition signatures.

Testifying before legislative committees will score public relations points more than it will influence legislators.

And reading a lengthy, detailed statement will just bore legislators - if they are even listening.

The greatest benefit of a petition drive is the opportunity to construct a database. You can amass a list of supporters who can be contacted to participate in advocacy campaigns.

Decision-makers will judge the viability of the activity by the amount of support they believe it represents (and that has to be substantial) and by the perceived ability of the group to generate activity that can harm legislators or help them.

Submitting one thousand signatures to a legislator who represents one hundred thousand voters, for example, is pretty insignificant.

The most important tactic that can be employed is face-to-face contact with decision-makers (in person, not remote).

So, do all the things that comprise a successful advocacy campaign - coalition-building, face-to-face lobbying, public hearings, legislative testimony, submission of petitions, letter-writing and email campaigns, fly-ins, media spots, editorial support, and more.

But always be sure to speak in person to the decision-makers. That is the most important step.

March 23, 2017: Public policy fight

Development of a pubic policy is not the result of well-intentioned people dialoging about an issue and crafting a reasonable position that satisfies both of them.

It is a fight in which adversaries strive to win as much as possible. Compromise is a back-up plan, only accepted when total victory is not achievable.

So, don't be squeamish about confronting opponents and engaging in battle. Develop a strategy to outmaneuver, outwit, and outlast them.

The goal is to win. If you back off because you don't like conflict, then you will lose.
Posted by: David M Patt

March 16, 2017: Team building

Get rid of the games and offer real benefits.

March 13, 2017: Retroactive funding

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
Don't work for free.

If your organization is promised a government grant or contract, don't begin work until a document is signed.

You can't be certain you'll be paid retroactively for work performed prior to the contracted start date.

If you are worried about potential clients or customers not being served or the organization missing a valuable opportunity, check with your attorney before you commit resources to a project.

Guarantees - verbal or written - may not be honored.

March 11, 2017: Religious advocacy?

Category: Stuff, other
Posted by: David M Patt
If a charity funds social services and education but embeds religious instruction in its services, is it serving the needy or using that service as cover to win converts?

March 09, 2017: Start me up

Posted by: David M Patt
Sometimes, you need a trigger to start the day.

March 06, 2017: Don't play it safe

Category: Business practices
Posted by: David M Patt
So, another ASAE keynote speaker called upon association executives to take chances.

Unfortunately, most won't follow that advice.

Taking chances doesn't mean being reckless or jumping off cliffs.

It simply means being willing to do something in a way you may not have done it before - and preparing properly for it.

It means it's OK to disregard benchmarks, to challenge established "customs," to break rules, and to disagree with everybody else.

It means not doing things the way everybody else does just because everybody else does things that way.

So, don't hide from controversy, strive for unanimity, or follow "conventional wisdom."

Do things the way you think is best. Don't merely ape what others are doing.

March 03, 2017: Talk nice

Category: Communications
Posted by: David M Patt

February 27, 2017: The sign

Category: Marketing
Posted by: David M Patt
Open Books, a not-for-profit organization that sells used books to fund literacy programs, placed this message on the chalkboard outside of its store

Dinosaurs could not READ
Now they are extinct
Books for sale inside

Well, it caught my attention.
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