Member Benefits: Advocacy through digital channels

Digital media gives polity bankers a platform for advocacy, and ICBA’s Virtual Sponsorship Primer details how you can put it to work.


How can a polity wholesaler weightier connect with a member of Congress? With the growing number of virtual options—whether it’s email, social media or video calling—community bankers can underpass the gap and well-wisher for the industry’s weightier interests, whether that’s cannabis-related merchantry financing, small and rural merchantry credit, or credit unions’ unfair advantage.

Quick Stat

57%

of constituents said that their representative and/or senator uses Facebook increasingly since the pandemic.

Source: Congressional Management Foundation

After COVID reverted how we all do business, senators and representatives have expanded their presence wideness technology by livestreaming on social media, posting Q&As and running email or phone campaigns. Equal to a 2020 Congressional Management Foundation report, constituents reported their representative and/or senator used online platforms either “more” or “significantly more” since the pandemic began.

So, how can you take wholesomeness of this reinforced media connection?

Lay out a plan

ICBA’s Virtual Sponsorship Primer explains how polity bankers can use digital options to take grassroots whoopee for the goody of the industry. With these social and digital platforms, you have new points of contact for your representative.

Before making contact with your representative, first ask yourself why. What’s your end goal? Are you trying to raise sensation well-nigh a unrepealable policy or snout well-expressed polity banks? Are you trying to prevent it from stuff passed?

Once you have that goal in mind, schedule a virtual meeting. Find the representative’s or senator’s scheduling process on their official website and follow every step.

Your meeting request should cover:

  • Your plan (either a tour or a meeting)
  • The subject of the meeting and the specific topic you’re discussing
  • The participants (including zip codes)
  • Background information regarding the subject (reports, one-pagers, etc.)

After making the request, undeniability the member’s office to discuss and finalize the length of the meeting and any software preferences (such as what virtual platform you will use for the meeting). Wait a week for a response and then follow up if necessary by phone, Facebook message and/or Twitter uncontrived message. Once you hear a response, thank them and notify any wall staff who will be involved.

Be thorough well-nigh preparation

Before the meeting, study up on your Congress member by looking through websites, newsletters, news alerts and social media. Make sure other meeting participants from your wall do the same. You can plane rehearse among yourselves to ensure the meeting is concise, informative and personal.

It’s moreover important to test out the meeting’s technical components, including the software platform (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoTo Meeting, etc.), lighting and sound. You may want to invest in an external light and/or microphone. Having a high-quality setup will guarantee that your message gets wideness and could help you stand out from the crowd.

Before the meeting, take 15 minutes to work out any of these technical kinks and provide everyone with a replacement plan if the software fails (such as using a phone line).

When you join the scheduled meeting, thank your member of Congress using their proper title. Requite them the what, why and how:

  • What do you want them to do? (Only imbricate one or two issues)
  • Why is this important to you?
  • How will this stupefy the local area, district and voters?
  • Provide a clear, uncontrived and performable request

Monitor your meeting’s runtime. Alimony it concise, but don’t forget to leave time for questions. Afterwards, typhoon your follow-up and thank-you emails (see the ICBA template on our website).

As an expert in the polity financial industry, be sure you use a tone that represents that.

Two days without the meeting, requite yourself 30 minutes to well-constructed the follow-up. Only 8% of constituents follow up in a timely, helpful way, equal to Hill staff. By pursuit up, you reinforce the importance of the issue.

Stay up to date

Once you successfully meet and talk with your Congress member, use these methods to alimony up with their current events and updates:

  • Set up Google news alerts
  • Visit your officials’ websites and sign up for their newsletters
  • Follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • Attend virtual town halls

ICBA wants to hear well-nigh your sponsorship efforts, too, and can help support you. Email John Coleman, ICBA’s director of advocacy, at john.coleman@ICBA.org regarding your meetings with Congress.

—Rachel Hatcher

ICBA whoopee resources

Find out increasingly well-nigh ICBA sponsorship opportunities and efforts

  • Wondering well-nigh ICBA’s latest stances on financial policy, concerns and issues? Visit icba.org/advocacy to learn well-nigh recent bills and for increasingly information on what it takes to do constructive sponsorship work.
  • For an in-person sponsorship experience, stay tuned for increasingly information on the 2023 ICBA Capital Summit this April.