Saturday, August 6, 2016

2016 July/August Government Relations

On Friday August 5th I and my Government Relations team of Alex Collins, IFAPAC Chair & Ryan Jewell, APIC Chair will unveil the Advocacy plan for 2016-2017.   For those of you who will not be in attendance at the retreat, allow me to give you an overview.
I believe we can best increase our membership by not focusing on membership.  What’s that you say, Richard? Increase membership by not focusing on it? Interesting thought, but how?
Many of us have had the opportunity to attend company or industry-sponsored events and for me those types of events have become my benchmark for a successful convention.  If you’ve ever experienced a NAIFA convention on the State or National level, you’ve likely been hooked by the experience.  I sense heads nodding up and down!  (As an aside, a tip of the hat to Wayne Lunday and his team for making the recent State convention a resounding success by that measure).  I digress.  If more rank and file members experienced a Convention, Congressional Conference, a Day on the Hill, or delivering a check to a legislator they too would be hooked.  The experience helps us connect the dots.  It’s where we get a first-hand lesson in terms of the value of our association, the protection we enjoy, and the threats we are up against.
Our Advocacy plan is grounded in the goal of bringing folks along to participate in our core mission.  Hearing our Advocacy Team lay out our issues and meeting eye to eye with a legislator does far more to demonstrate the value NAIFA provides than monthly lunch meetings, CE events, or affinity programs.  Those are all useful, but secondary to advocacy.  In fact, non-members are more likely to become members if we bring them along as well.  They are benefiting, so let’s let them participate!
Now, the advocacy plan is not a panacea.  It won’t happen overnight.  Many, many successful, intelligent, energetic folks have come before us with well thought-out plans to increase membership, to little avail, and none of those plans suggested we NOT focus on membership. An incremental shift could make the difference.  Let’s give a try.
Richard L. Miller,
NAIFA-WA Government Relations Chair

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