Get Money Out Of Politics Now

Money in Politics

We should get money out of politics. Everyone says it is corrosive and corrupts.

But ask any candidate who lost his last campaign if he could have used more money and I think he’ll say yes.

The problem is not too much money. The problem is narrowly focused sources of money. Narrow money doesn’t work. In plain English, narrowly focused funding sources empower special interests. (more…)

Politics Is Boring, Trust Me On This

“I hate politics. I don’t understand Congress. And I have no idea about who to vote for in the election.” That’s what I used to say until the political gene turned on in my late 30’s.

For me, politics was boring and nobody cared. Congress was just a bunch of guys in Washington and they were going to do whatever they wanted to anyway. Besides it didn’t affect me. (more…)

Two Heads are Better Than One

You Can Influence Policy

People think they can’t do it but they can.

People think they have to write legal language but they don’t.

Voters want to influence laws and policy but they don’t.

Voters think they can influence politicians by choosing the right candidate but it doesn’t always work out that way. (more…)

Why Small Business Should Lobby

Source: istockphoto

Source: istockphoto

Persuasion works.

When persuading lawmakers to simplify regulations or adopt legislation you are fighting for, as a small business you face three choices. (more…)

Political Advocacy Can Help Your Business

Political advocacy is a government affairs function

Technology offers more ways than ever for Americans to interact with their government, yet the turnout for the 2014 midterm elections was the lowest in 72 years. Even though citizens can read bills online, email their legislators and follow politicians on Twitter, many opt out of the political process.

(more…)

eBook – How to Change a Law

Your Political Roadmap

Have you ever wondered why some special interests always get the laws that they want but you never do?

Now, in this free eBook we explain what you can do about it.

No more feeling frustrated or abandoned by your politicians. Turn your anger into awareness, and your awareness into action. (more…)

How To Find Your Political Voice And Sleep Like A Baby

Anyone Can Change A Law

It is easy to feel disconnected from government and politics in this day and age. With lobbyists, special interests, and powerful billionaires having their voices being heard, there is not much left for the average citizen looking to improve their general quality of life through intelligent and well-enacted legislation. If you want your voice to be heard, then don’t give up. Borrowing heavily from the incredible change seen in the tech industry, there is a 21st century solution to this problem with democracy. It goes by the name of iLobby.

Connect, Debate, Engage

Simply put, iLobby is the easiest way to pass a law. A community based around discussing, proposing, and finding support for laws, iLobby is an incredibly powerful tool and social media platform for bringing about change. For far too long, the voices of individuals have been lost in the yelling contest between the wealthy and special interests. While letters to congressmen continue to be ignored, nothing can stand against the incredible power of grass roots lobbying and social consensus. Old techniques are gone, and a new and improved method is now being utilized. So how can you become a part of the iLobby movement?

A 21st Century Solution To Having Your Voice Heard

Through the iLobby website, you can choose how much you want to participate in the conversation. For example, you can stay in the background and simply listen to the ideas, debates, and movements other people bring to the table. If you want to play a more active role, then you can fully harness the power of being one person with one vote. You and everyone else are real people who have important perspectives necessary for continuing a healthy democracy. Vote on what you feel is important, argue on the merits of what you believe, share and like things that you want to promote, and pledge yourself to a particular cause. In addition if you are successful, you might even get a chance to hire a lobbyist to represent your interests in government.

What Are You Waiting For?

Democracy is rule by consensus. The more you allow your political voice to strengthen, the more you will feel like your contribution has purpose. Remember that anyone has the power to change a law, including you. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Help shape your destiny.

by EP (Guest Blogger)

Engaging Members in the Lobbying Process

Sooner or later, many organizations will find their fortunes linked to government corridors and committee rooms, where it can still be a challenge to get their members’ voices heard. Apathy is pretty common, unfortunately. Just as the 2014 midterm turnout for Election Day was the lowest in 72 years, when associations make members’ political involvement as easy as clicking an online “take action” button, many still don’t bother. It’s time to introduce newer ways to engage members in grass-roots political activism.

It’s the rare American who can just pick up the phone and have a heart-to-heart with a governmental decision-maker. Yet abstaining from the political process is like failing to make a will—eventually, there’s a gap between your own goals and how the government handles them. Lobbyists help bridge that gap. Major corporations understand this and have long worked the system to their advantage. In 2014, some 11,509 registered lobbyists argued the causes of organizations that shelled out about $2.41 billion for their services, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. However, for many associations, influencing decision-makers is more difficult. Just getting them to focus on the organization’s issues is tough.

Lobbying is a fact of life.

It’s the rare American who can just pick up the phone and have a heart-to-heart with a governmental decision-maker. Yet abstaining from the political process is like failing to make a will — eventually, there’s a gap between your own goals and how the government handles them.

Lobbyists help bridge the gap. Major corporations understand this and work the system to their advantage. In 2014, some 11,509 registered lobbyists argued the causes of organizations that shelled out about $2.41 billion for their services, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

For many associations, influencing decision-makers is more difficult. Just getting them to focus on the organization’s issues is tough.

Who needs lobbyists?

Several types of associations may find themselves most in need of improving outreach to public officials. These include:

  1. Smaller-scale associations that lack budgets for a governmental affairs department or even for a specialized position to handle those duties.
  2. Associations in highly regulated fields. These are groups that acutely feel the effects of government policies, and need help asserting their complex interests. Examples include: health care, banking, energy, telecommunications.
  3. Associations whose members come from businesses operating in the absence of settled law. Think Internet privacy, UAV drones, and startups that threaten the establishment (like Uber or AirBnB).

Which engagement options actually work?

Strategies for offering input to lawmakers range from the traditional to the cutting-edge. Personal letters, emails and phone calls will at least show up in a summary by the lawmaker’s staff. Heavy call volume gets attention. But lawmakers only care about voters and businesses in their own districts. That’s one reason they think they can ignore entreaties that originate with mass mailings or online petitions. Some executives report better results with letters on their personalized letterhead — with real signatures — targeted to specific lawmakers.

Web pages and online position statements may include “take action” buttons. Again, these generate boilerplate communications. And they might require your members to supply personal information they’d rather not share online or to slog through policy verbiage, both of which can discourage people from clicking through.

An innovative political persuasion platform, iLobby.co, also called cloud-based lobbying, applies crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to the political process. Here anyone can start an online dialogue on an issue on which they want elected officials to take action. Others join in, adding their support and/or arguments. Congressional districts are included on the site, which is important because while issues transcend boundaries, voters do not.

When participants in the platform reach a consensus, they contribute funding to hire a registered lobbyist who’s not only savvy about their issue, but able to document the political districts represented.

Lawmakers want feedback.

Online formats facilitate the exchange of information. A former California state senator, Joe Simitian, even encouraged voter feedback through this medium when he expressed his belief, “There oughta be a law.” Yet associations may need to overcome the belief that politics is not any of the association’s business. According to Bob Breault, who chairs the Arizona Optics Cluster, “They consider it ‘corrupt’ and all that politicians do is take money from them — most often for the wrong reasons.”

Yet Breault supports a cloud-based lobbying approach. “People will participate if someone makes it easy to pass along their opinions to the appropriate legislator. Of course, the discussions need to be civil and respectful and factual, and not emotional tirades.”

Online discussions also can turn up real-life stories on the effects of legislation. These are especially useful if an association needs people to tell their stories in a committee hearing.

What’s important to remember is that association members are constituents, too. Since many members already like the simplicity of using services like eBay and Amazon, online lobbying can be a natural extension to foster political relationship-building. They are an easy way to get members more involved in political issues, which are vital to their lives and careers.

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Originally published in Association News,  March, 2015

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