Deep Dive Breakout 1

Friday, August 5, 2016

11:30am – 12:30pm

Travis Gianchetta (Beekeeper Group), Rachel Feinstein (Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association), Alicia Meads (CF Industries) and Katherine Merullo (American Health Care Association)

Advocacy professionals are resourceful folks who know how to get things done. Join our discussion to share techniques and advice for running campaigns when budgets are tight and support is limited.

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

Learning Objectives:

  • How can you run a campaign on a budget?
  • How do you/can you turn a “no” into a “yes”?
  • How do you work with other internal departments to achieve your goals?
  • What do you do when there is a vacuum above you?
  • “Ask for forgiveness, not permission” mindset.

Different Type of bosses:

Mr. Status Quo: Whatever we are doing is working so let’s just keep doing what we are doing.

Mr. CYA: All they are concerned about is their exposure. If it doesn’t work it’s all your fault.

Idea Boss: Hard to keep up, once you are executing one of their ideas they are onto the next idea.

Champion boss: Very collaborative boss who wants to work together as a team.

How can you run a campaign on a budget?

  • Utilize resources provided by your trade associations and professional organizations. Examples: Online advocacy tools, GOTV guides (voter registration deadlines, primary dates, etc.)
  • Comms/media team can help spread the message on shared priority issues for company and association.
  • Utilize free/cheaper online resources and tools!
    • Pixlr
    • Piktochart – Create cheap infographics
    • Typeform- Use to create a survey or collect data from members
    • net (Convert RGB color code to HEX code)
    • Pixabay- Free stock images
  • If you have a tight budget, identify what is essential and what is not so you can clearly see where you should spend the majority of your budget on those.
  • If a particular issue affects one large or several large and small member companies, leverage their resources as well as your own.
  • Pool funds to supplement your budget.

How do you/can you turn a “no” into a “yes”?

  • Starting small can turn into a BIG result. Start with a pilot on a smaller level to prove that it could work and get some metrics to share with leadership to get more buy-in.
  • No means yes? There is always a way. It might take time for approval or you might have to go about turning the no into a yes in many different ways.
  • Come prepared with an action plan.
  • If presenting to a group for approval already have a “planted backer” in the room. Generally if one person goes for it other people will be more likely to follow as well.
  • Turn your members into advocates for the project, get them excited to help you, show there is support.

How do you work with other internal departments to achieve your goals?

  • In grassroots it is so critical to have buy-in from many different departments.
  • Get to know what other departments need and how your department can help them and vice versa.
  • Know your culture and be specific about deadlines and expectations.
  • Schedule weekly progress calls/meeting etc.

What do you do when there is a vacuum above you?

  • Steve Job’s video explaining Apple and how the company has no committees and is organized like a startup. : “If you want hire great people and have them stay working for you…”
  • Take initiative- Don’t wait for someone to fix problems.
  • Do the work that you need completed?
  • If there is a vacuum above you, more likely than not you are going to be on your own figuring out projects. So beware of burnout!
  • “Ask for forgiveness, not permission” mindset.


  • Never go into a conversation asking what your members think and want to do. You will get a bunch of different ideas and it will make it more challenging to manage expectations.
  • Try a combination of piloting and asking for permission first is always a good tactic.
  • Sometimes people need to conceptually see something in order for them to wrap their mind around it or support it. So sometimes just doing it, establishing a date, creating a LinkedIn Profile page etc.