Active, involved dealer members make a real difference.
BY: BEN GANN
Any lobbyist will tell you there are three basic components to a successful advocacy program: lobbying, political action and grassroots. But it is how each area works together that ultimately determines the strength of an association’s advocacy efforts.
Lobbying receives the most attention typically within an association’s advocacy efforts. Whether I am meeting with lawmakers and their staff, or NLBMDA’s Regulatory Counsel Frank Moore is working with agencies such as OSHA, it is a critical function of the association that the public policy matters of the LBM industry are addressed.
Our political action committee, Lumber Dealers Political Action Committee (LuDPAC), helps supplement the work on the lobbying side by making financial contributions to the campaign committees of congressional candidates. Pooling the personal financial contributions of NLBMDA members, we are able to strengthen our relationships with lawmakers who support policies addressing the needs of LBM dealers.
But no advocacy program can achieve its goals without an effective grassroots program. At its most basic level, lawmakers need to hear from the people most affected by their policies. Regular communication with members of Congress, even when Capitol Hill is not considering policies affecting your industry, can pay dividends down the road once you have something to bring to the attention of lawmakers.
In many respects, NLBMDA is already using best practices for a successful advocacy strategy. NLBMDA annually develops a National Policy Agenda to identify the legislative and regulatory issues that are important to the association and communicates them to lawmakers and government regulators. This foundational document helps guide the legislative and regulatory activities of the association.
The Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. every March gives dealers the opportunity to meet with lawmakers and their staff about the issues most affecting the industry. This day on Capitol Hill helps advance the industry’s agenda and complements the work Frank and I do on a daily basis.