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An Engagement Announcement

I cry at weddings, funerals, and on Election Day. I have an aversion to labels and have never felt compelled to wear an American flag pin on my lapel. But I do consider myself a patriot. And that’s why I get a little choked up when I actually get to participate in choosing the leaders of our democratic republic by casting a ballot. What’s even more emotional – at least to me – is watching Americans of all socio-economic backgrounds take great pride in doing the same thing.

The election is over… So now what?

For most folks, voting is about as involved as they’ll get (or want to get) in government. But as a person who’s been in the trade association business for nearly 30 years now, I’ve seen firsthand the power that a well-organized group of individuals can have on the policy-making process.

Alliance member societies – and the millions of individual members of each of these organizations, from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans to the Association of the Sons of Poland and every society in between – have the opportunity to take one more small step in the political process by sending an email to their U.S. Representative, asking these legislators to become a co-sponsor of Congressional Resolution #116 – the Alliance-sponsored measure supporting fraternal benefit societies.

Why do this during the “lame duck” session?

CR #116 was introduced earlier this year and (thanks to the efforts of the Alliance Board, a few societies, and a handful of State Fraternal Alliance leaders) 49 members of the House have signed-on as co-sponsors. The Resolution’s primary sponsors are Rep. Eric Paulsen (R-MN) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), demonstrating the bipartisan appeal of the fraternal business model.

Our goal during the next few weeks of the “lame duck” session of Congress is twofold:

1)  We want every House member – all 435 of them – to receive at least one letter from a constituent asking them to become a co-sponsor. Ideally, we’d like to get at least 10 more legislators to sign-on to the measure before it expires at the end of the session.

2)  This late session grassroots campaign will make it easier to reintroduce the resolution in 2013. Our objective next year is to recruit 100 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives – a lofty goal that can only be accomplished if every member society participates in the grassroots effort.

Who should send the emails?

Here’s a list of folks we think make ideal grassroots participants:

  • Society CEOs – because if it’s not important enough for you to get involved, why should anyone else in your organization participate?
  • Every society employee – from the corner office to the mail room.
  • Your Board members – as leaders of your organization, their participation in this effort should be mandatory.
  • Your field force – they have the ability to reach legislators in almost every district.
  • Your regional, district, or local chapter leaders – messages from the folks who do the work in local communities will have a major impact on lawmakers.
  • Every single member of your society – the quantity of contacts demonstrates the depth and breadth of your society in a particular district.
  • State Fraternal Alliance leaders – further reinforces the local nature of fraternal activities.

“But my members are apolitical, not technology savvy, and don’t like to get involved…

Excuses, excuses. You may believe all of the above about your members, but you really won’t know until you ask them. The CR #116 grassroots campaign is a great way to test the effectiveness of your communications vehicles and the willingness of your members to ENGAGE! And isn’t members’ willingness to get involved one of the fraternal “differentiators?”

Before you dismiss the idea of participating in this project, consider the following strongly held belief that wasn’t entirely accurate:

“We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out.”
Decca Recording Co. executive, turning down The Beatles for a contract in 1962

Just do what you do…

We’re not asking you to do anything special or out of the ordinary – just use the tools you regularly use to communicate with your key audiences. Our experience tells us that electronic media – whether email or e-newsletters, etc. – is the most effective way to distribute this type of message because readers can email their House member directly from their computer, pad or smart phone.

“What’s the message we should send our folks?”

I’m glad you asked. How about this:

You can help [NAME OF SOCIETY] fulfill its unique mission by asking your U.S. House member to co-sponsor a resolution supporting fraternal benefit societies. Please go to the Take Action page of the American Fraternal Alliance website to participate in this important effort.

The federal government is facing record deficits and examining every possible option of increasing revenues. While the fraternal tax exemption that funds our chapter system, member programs, and community service activities is not under direct threat today, tax reform is almost certain to be on the congressional agenda next year and now is the time to build awareness in Congress for [NAME OF SOCIETY] and our important mission.

That’s why [NAME OF SOCIETY] is joining other fraternals that are members of the American Fraternal Alliance to support House Congressional Resolution #116. The resolution promotes fraternalism and praises the essential role organizations like [NAME OF SOCIETY] play for our members and their communities. It provides an opportunity for members of the House of Representatives to go on record supporting the work not-for-profit fraternals do throughout the nation.

Please visit the Take Action page of the American Fraternal Alliance website to email your House member right away. Simply enter your contact information and the system will:

  • Automatically identify the correct House member for you to contact.
  • Determine if the Representative is a current co-sponsor of the resolution.
  • Prepare an email asking the Representative to become a co-sponsor or an email thanking the Representative for being a co-sponsor.

Thank you for getting involved in this important grassroots campaign!

It couldn’t be easier… (Really, it couldn’t)

We encourage you to test the link and the grassroots campaign Web site yourself. I think you’ll find it couldn’t be easier for you – and the members of your society – to get involved.

The ball’s in your court…

Talk to me. Let me know you’re going to participate – or give me a really good reason why you’re not. And once you start, tell me what methods you’ve found effective and what hasn’t worked so I can share this information with others. Remember the 2013 goal: Reintroduce CR #116 and get 100 house members to co-sponsor the measure. We start today.

4 Responses

  1. I just followed the links and it truly is very easy and user friendly. Great job Joe and team! I will be working within my society in order to get the word out!

  2. Thanks, Chris! Any others out there????

  3. Hi,
    Yes, it was very easy to follow, especially for me.
    Connie Fox, California Fraternal Alliance

  4. Hello all,
    I just completed the Take Action Now! steps. I found it to be very easy and an excellent way to show our support. I think it would great for everyone that is a member of a fraternal society to let their elected officials hear united voice. I am going to share on my Facebook page.

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