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Big advocacy goals for 2019 can only be achieved TOGETHER...

January 7, 2019

2019 is here and with it the unveiling of the new, improved, streamlined and focused American Fraternal Alliance. I am excited about the opportunities the New Year and the new operating model present. For my first few posts of the year, I am going to focus on the Alliance’s 2019 “Strategic Initiatives” – 11 objectives that the Board has agreed are our most important priorities. These are the projects on which our resources will be concentrated, and our performance will be evaluated.

Of the 11 Strategic Initiatives, six focus on advocacy; three deal with education, information, and member benefits; and two address corporate governance and operations. I’ll start with the advocacy initiatives first, since members consistently tell us that this is the most valuable benefit of Alliance membership, and that feedback was the driving force behind reorganizing the Alliance to better accomplish its advocacy mission. And of the Alliance’s six 2019 advocacy initiatives, there is none more important that this:

“Promote awareness of the Alliance and the invaluable contributions of the fraternal community among federal lawmakers by re-introducing Congressional Resolutions in the U.S. House and Senate, securing 50 co-sponsors in the House and 10 co-sponsors in the Senate by December 31, 2019, conducting a successful “Day on the Hill” in conjunction with the Alliance Executive Summit, and reaching out to newly-elected Members of Congress and newly-appointed Members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee.”

So how are we going to accomplish that? In a word: TOGETHER.

If we’re to succeed here, it will take the entire fraternal community – not just lobbyists, staff, the Board, or our largest member societies (who are already doing more than their fair share in the advocacy arena, by the way). Here are some of the specific “Action Steps” we’re planning and suggestions for how you and your society can participate in these efforts:

  • Conduct in-person meetings with newly-appointed Members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee to introduce them to the fraternal community – New Committee assignments are just being announced and with the shift in power in the U.S. House we expect some significant changes to the make-up of the Ways and Means Committee. While many of these Capitol Hill meetings with new committee Members and staff will be conducted on a cooperative and coordinated basis with Alliance lobbyists and staff and our two largest members with well-established government affairs operations – Thrivent and Knights of Columbus – we’ll be looking for support from the CEOs and senior executives of our other member societies that are domiciled in the states or districts of these new legislators. We’ll be reaching out to you in early February to see if you would be willing to participate in a Capitol Hill meeting or, better yet, meet with these lawmakers in the district.
  • Distribute fraternal information packets to all newly-elected members of Congress – There are more than 100 new Representatives and Senators in the new Congress and we want to introduce the fraternal community to each of them. Introducing ourselves to them and their staffs through an information packet distributed by our lobbyists is one way to do that. But for those lawmakers who come from states or districts with significant fraternal populations, we’ll want to schedule in-person meetings with member society leaders from their community. Again, stay tuned for an invitation to participate in these in-person meetings later this year based on your society’s home office location.
  • Conduct Capitol Hill visits with Members of Congress in conjunction with the Alliance’s Executive Summit “Day on the Hill” event – This year’s Executive Summit is scheduled for September 23-25, 2019 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. We would love to have the C-suite executives from every Alliance member society participate in this event and spread the good word about the fraternal community to as many Members of Congress as possible.

Of course, there are dozens of other ways to get more involved in your trade association’s advocacy efforts – everything from inviting your Representatives and Senators to participate in a meaningful community service event in the state or district, to hosting a meeting with them at your home office. You’ll also have an opportunity to participate in the Alliance’s brand new Political Action Committee (PAC) later this year. You’ll hear much more about that in a future post.

I am thrilled to be in a position to both lead and serve Alliance members in this noble effort. My only request is that you make a commitment to engage in one important advocacy initiative in 2019 as we work TOGETHER to promote awareness of the most incredible financial services and community services organizations in the world.

Got questions, comments, suggestions about advocacy engagement? Send me a private email at jannotti@fraternalalliance.org.