If your organization doesn’t have a readily available public affairs strategy, you must create one as soon as possible.
A public affairs strategy will serve as the framework to align with your organization’s interests and key activities with stakeholders, who often impact policies and legislation that affect your operations.
In your quest to influence policy changes now and in the future, we recommend three key tactics to be a part of your public affairs strategy.
Share economic impacts with legislators
Have you ever had a friend who only ever called you when they needed something? It’s the same concept when your organization only contacts legislators when a favor is needed in the form of a policy.
You can positively engage with legislators by sharing ALL of your organization’s positive economic impacts in the local community. Whether you decide to share the economic impacts in a comprehensive annual report or a quarterly newsletter, this tactic serves as a great way to interact with legislators because you stay on their radar and ask for anything.
When engaging with your local legislators, remember all initiatives, big and small, are worth mentioning, and adding them to your email blasts (even on holidays) are great ways to build those relationships for the future.
Monitor and engage stakeholders
In the world of public affairs, stakeholders play a vital role in the success of your organization’s operations as they’re the group making policy decisions, which can, in turn, advance your objectives.
Ensuring that your stakeholders – local dignitaries, neighboring communities, employees, etc. are well informed (just like the legislators) and kept in the loop regarding significant announcements before the public is imperative to building and maintaining this relationship, as it’ll make them feel valued.
It’s essential to keep an organized database of all stakeholders’ contact information to invite them to future town halls, meetings, and events. This information will also come in handy when monitoring them, especially on social media; when a complaint arises, you can easily reach out to the person one-on-one to resolve the matter.
Consistent communication and messaging
One of the quickest ways to lose credibility amongst stakeholders is by switching up the method of communication and your key messaging.
Do you usually keep in touch with your stakeholders by phone, mail, and email? Or do you communicate with them in person at meetings and online on NextDoor?
It’s crucial to maintain a consistent flow of communication when working with stakeholders, as they typically like to know when and how you will communicate. To ensure successful contact each time you reach out, you need to decide what methods of communication you will use for your stakeholders to keep them informed.
Also, when it comes to messaging, your organization should be mapping out tailored communication pieces to each type of stakeholder based on their interest. We recommend creating a messaging approval process to ensure that each party’s communication aligns with the critical objectives and doesn’t contradict one another because someone is bound to call you out.