Deep Dive Breakout 1

Thursday, August 4, 2016

11:30am – 12:30pm

Mike Panetta (Beekeeper Group), Thao Nguyen (Feeding America), Katie Taylor (American Heart Association) and Federica Rabiolo (eBay)

A fully leveraged fly-in will provide up to 12 months of content and a cadre of energized advocate leaders. But you have to plan ahead to capture your participants’ stories, motivate them to engage, and prepare them for the real work that awaits when they return to their home districts.

Have feedback on this session? We’d love to hear it! Submit it here.

Learning Objectives:

1)   How to I fully leverage my fly-in?

  • Look at fly-ins holistically. Don’t just host a fly-in to check a box. The fly-in should really fit into your overall strategy.
  • Before the fly-in, take the time to train and educate the advocates you are taking to the Hill. It makes a difference. You can do this by hosting webinars, and giving homework, followed by role-playing once they get to D.C.
  • Hold issue-specific fly-ins:
    • You don’t have to do one big fly-in you can break them up so that you are only pushing a few issues at a time rather then all your issues at once.
    • Most of the people brought in for this type of fly-in are more professional audience rather than a constituent story.
  • Many organizations are moving towards a model that people pay their own way rather then the association/organization to pay for everything.
    • To make sure you get the full representation of constituents having a scholarship fund will also help.
    • Organizations are also making the fly-ins smaller to accommodate for price.
    • You can also include sponsors to pay for a dinner or whatnot that allows them to get their brand out there and helps ease financial burden.
  • Always build in a video component during fly-ins. Your fly-in in an opportunity to create content for the rest of the year.
  • Adding recognition events into the fly-ins really help build awareness and appreciation
  • Look at the fly-in as a VIP experience for the people that come, so that months after the fly-in they can be the people you look to for testimonial speakers, tours, etc.
  • Make sure your fly-in “alumni” go back to their state-level governments and utilize the training you’ve invest in to create change and pass bills there.

2)   How do I get the conversation going before and after my fly-in?

  • This is an opportunity to enhance the conversation with the people coming in, and online, both during and after the fly-in.
  • Yes, getting big media hits on the New York Times is great but getting big hits in the local papers is a really big win as well.
  • Think about what makes your fly-in unique and really highlight that to the media and your digital audience online.
  • Invest in training for the people coming in for the fly-in it builds confidence. People are nervous going to the Hill to speak on issues but if they are properly trained they will be more prepared and more comfortable to have a conversation. They will also have more confidence and motivation to go back to their states/districts and advocate at a more local level.
  • Have the conversation come from an advocate and not just the association. Film a video of an advocate urging people to come and download the app and participate.
  • Pick a face or a story for the issue and carry that throughout the year.

3)   What level of importance is training advocates before coming to DC?

  • Create an ambassador network to leverage the people most dedicated to the issue. This allows you to educate and train them year-round so when they come for the fly-in, the training can be more limited.
  • Most peoples’ only experience with the Hill and politics in through Hollywood (The West Wing, House of Cards, VEEP, etc.) so make sure you explain everything down to what the buzzing clock on the wall means, or why the staff is so young, what you do if there is a hallway meeting.
  • Do a walk-through with them. Show them where they are going.
  • Get to know the congressmen and really prepare the advocates on how the conversation will go. If you say this, the congressman will say this and your re-buddle should be this.
  • Hire a consult to help you train your advocates. CMF is a great option.
  • Training should include: how congress works, best advocacy strategies, telling your stories, and impactful meetings/events.
  • Do a follow-up at the end of the day and get the pictures from them and the stories so that you can share them through-out the year.
  • Day-of split people into tracks so that they are getting their questions answered no matter what level they are at. Veteran, Newbie and Youth Tracks.
  • Don’t leave out Youth demographic to be advocates.
  • Give your advocates a personal experience with what they are going to advocate for. Serving the school-lunch they are going to the Hill to advocate for so people can speak from experience.

4)   How to look internally to extend the fly-in / working with other departments?

  • Get the buy-in from the PR/Communications people right away.
  • Get executives in all departments to push information out on their social channels and offer resources from their department.
  • Work with executives from all departments to see what they want to get out of it.
  • Having your CEO to talk at another event while they are here for good face-time with other organizations.
    • Invite staff from different departments to attend the fly-in in DC for people to experience it themselves and be a cheerleader of it with their departments and other departments they interact with.
    • Publicize the results with everyone in the organization so they see what cam out of it.
    • Collect data from all departments in the organization to leverage on the Hill and really educate the executives how it will benefit their department directly.

5)   How do you stay focused on the fly-in goal when there are external distractions?

  • Really separate it out. First day is the board meeting and the second day is the fly-in.
  • Host smaller fly-ins so you can really own the agenda.
  • Get feedback from people participating on if they feel prepared to go to the Hill. Use their feedback as a tool to drive the agenda towards more training and less outside meetings.
  • Encourage the executive to bring someone at a lower level to the Hill day. This keeps their focus on why they are there and they will be less likely to schedule outside meetings.

6)   What have you done different or unique that you liked?

  • Do an embassy dinner the night before to bring in a new constituency.
  • Host a fly-in when other organizations host their big galas and be their biggest underwriter and invite people who are attending the fly-in.
  • Host a small exhibit hall in one of the caucus rooms and all your constituents set up their business or what they do for people to see.
  • Train your constituents to go on Hill visits by themselves and then give kudos to the meetings that go well. Really encourages competitiveness and to have great meetings.

7)   How do you bring the virtual world into your physical fly-in?

  • Introduce the message series a few weeks before the fly-in starts (to build excitement) and circulate topics that the fly-in will be focused on.
  • People can send messages to their lawmakers or be patched through to talk to their congressman as well.
  • Continue the story after the fly-in as well, with similar themes and stories.

8)   What are some post fly-in tactics?

  • Make sure to do the typical thank you notes and send  outcomes to members, organizations and constituents.
  • Encourage and make sure people have what they need in order  advocate at the local level.
  • Encourage people who participated in the fly-in to host small roundtable events back in their districts.

For Further Discussion

  • Who are you inviting to your fly-ins / having strategic invites?
  • Knowing your goal and creating a clear ask.