Post-Election Engagement - Five Tips to Make Your First Contact Count
On 23rd March, the Berejiklian Government was returned to power with two seats to spare. It was a close campaign that saw advocates around the State desperately trying to work out what each potential outcome would mean for their industry.
And the big one’s still to come, with the Prime Minister expected to announce the date of the Federal election in the next week or two.
Once an election is done and dusted, there’s a sense of relief for many, and a lingering question for most advocates – what do we do next? Some want to rush Ministerial offices, while others hang back and let the dust settle only to find the Minister’s calendar has quickly filled.
So what’s the best way forward?
1) Letter of introduction
If the Minister or Ministers responsible for your area of concern have changed (whether through election defeat or reshuffle), a letter of introduction is a good first step. The letter can highlight the nature of your organisation as well as the handful of key issues you’re interested in discussing with the Minister’s office in the future.
If the Minister responsible for your area has retained their position, a letter offering your congratulations would be more appropriate.
2) Introductory meeting
About a week after the letter of introduction has been sent and received, it’s appropriate to arrange a brief face-to-face meeting with the Minister. This isn’t the time to launch into in-depth policy discussions, but rather a chance for the Minister to meet you and for you to briefly touch on one or two issues you’ll be raising in more detail with the their office at a later date.
Do not bring a wad of powerpoint slides to this meeting. In the following months there will be ample opportunity to build a relationship with the Minister’s office through more detailed meetings.
This is also a good opportunity to gauge the Minister’s interest in speaking at your event or touring your site depending on which is more relevant.
3) Visually display your organisation’s local impact
Advocates usually engage with MPs on macro-level issues that have industry-wide impact. However, demonstrating the footprint that your sector has at the local level can help distinguish you and your advocacy.
Our forthcoming mapping tool, Advoc8 Maps, will allow advocates to visually lay out the contribution of their organisation or industry at the local electorate level by uploading address-based data. The result is an interactive digital map, or high-res image, that can be included in briefing notes for maximum impact.
(If you’re on the lookout for a simple way to visualise your impact at the electorate level, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll notify you as soon as we launch.)
4) Track staff changes
Following an election there is always staff turnover. Apart from the obvious movement after a change of government, there are often staffing decisions that give hints about what the incumbent Party will be doing the same, and key areas of change.
We’ve already seen a number of key staff depart following the Berejiklian Government’s victory in NSW, including some senior staff from the Premier’s own office.
It’s important to keep track of which staff have departed, who has replaced them and any new staff appointed by freshly-minted Ministers. It’s also helpful to include key staff changes in relevant government departments.
Advoc8 is working on a feature to enhance your advocacy in this area as well so watch this space.
5) Read inaugural speeches
There is always a new crop of Ministers following every election. If the Minister has changed in a portfolio area relevant to you, it’s important to read their inaugural speech.
As we’ve said before, inaugural speeches are windows into what drives a politician. It paints a picture of what motivates them, what issues concern them, what their personal values are and who they hold in high regard. Knowing ‘who’ you are meeting with provides crucial insight that should impact the approach you take and the issues you raise.