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    Grassroots Activism: Getting Beyond the Numbers

    Here are the raw numbers from the first three weeks of the Alliance’s “Fraternals GIVE Back” grassroots campaign:

    02-Give-Back-Banner

    • 3,967 – Number of individuals (employees, agents, local chapter leaders, and members of Alliance societies) that have sent emails to Members of Congress
    • 46 – Number of U.S.-domiciled Alliance member societies that have had at least one individual participate in the grassroots campaign
    • 325 – Number of U.S. Representatives that have received at least one email from an Alliance member society representative
    • 96 – Number of U.S. Senators that have received at least one email from an Alliance member society representative
    • 9 – Number of co-sponsors of House Congressional Resolution #19 highlighting the valuable contributions made by fraternals to the economic and social fabric of the U.S.

    By any standards, that’s impressive.  And with almost three more weeks remaining in the campaign, we’ve got a great opportunity to reach our goals of having every U.S.-domiciled Alliance member society participate in the campaign and having every member of Congress – all 435 Representatives and all 100 Senators – receive at least one email from an Alliance member.  We’ll close the broad-based grassroots campaign on April 17 and follow it up with personal visits by Alliance member society executives to members of Congress and their staff on the Alliance’s “Day on the Hill” event during the 2015 Executive Summit. This one-two advocacy punch is the cornerstone of our efforts to generate as many co-sponsors as possible for House Congressional Resolution #19 – including the nearly 60 Representatives that signed on to a similar measure in 2012, as well as additional House members that may have been unaware of fraternals at that time.

    The Alliance’s grassroots effort clearly demonstrates that there is more to advocacy that just raw numbers.  While re-engaging co-sponsors from the 2012 resolution is a great place to start, finding new co-sponsors proves we’re growing awareness and support for the fraternal model.  I’m pleased to report that a critical new ally has stepped forward.  Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who, as House Conference Chair, serves as the fourth-ranking House GOP leader, this week added her name as a co-sponsor.  And what really makes her support noteworthy is how it came about.

    Thrivent Financial reached out to a small group of members and asked them to work locally to build relationships with their federal elected officials.  One of them, Wade Wipperling, lives in Eastern Washington and has long been active as a Thrivent volunteer, even serving as president of the Washington Fraternal Alliance.  Wade visited with Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ district office, meeting her staff and inviting them to local Thrivent community activities.  He built up a relationship with the staff and shared with them the ways fraternals give back.  This led to a meeting with Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers in December, and, ultimately, a new friend for fraternals through the resolution.

    I’m inspired by Wade’s work, and ask you:  Who are your Wades?  Who from your society can help us build new allies simply by telling our story?

    I encourage you to share those stories with me, either by posting a comment here or in an email at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org.

    Remember, three more weeks to go to reach our goals.  If you haven’t started your campaign, now’s the time.  And if your efforts are underway, it’s time to double-down on them.  Start by going to Fraternals GIVE Back.

    One Response

    1. Thanks, Joe and thanks to all who’ve participated! As much as I love to see big numbers, it’s also true that one person can make a huge difference. (Here it was our friend Wade.) We’ve also learned that asking members to be advocates with Congress translates into them being advocates for us in general. It’s our hope we can all learn from this effort, as we’ll no doubt need to make an even bigger impression going forward. Our country needs us.

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