The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) and Advocacy Associates, a boutique advocacy scheduling firm, won Campaigns and Elections magazine’s prestigious Reed Award for “Best Lobby Day.”
The award recognized the outstanding work surrounding NSSGA’s 2022 lobby day, in which 250 advocates held 200 meetings with members of Congress and their staff. The honor reflects Advocacy Associates’ position as a leader in the field, as well as NSSGA’s innovative approach to connecting advocates with their legislators. The awards were announced at the Reed Awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
In September 2022, NSSGA brought 250 advocates from 37 states to Washington, D.C., for its annual Legislative & Policy Forum. With restrictions on the number of advocates allowed in Capitol offices, as well as differing requirements for online versus in-person meetings, they faced significant, unique challenges in scheduling and conducting meetings with members of Congress. NSSGA turned to Advocacy Associates to collaborate on an event that maximized efficiency, while minimizing inconvenience to the advocates, legislators, and NSSGA staff.
To achieve these goals, Advocacy Associates blended an in-person and virtual fly-in that integrated in-person meetings on the Hill, virtual visits, and Congressional roundtables at three different venues simultaneously through a variety of technology- and staff-driven strategies.
- The “rooms” feature in the Advocacy Associates scheduling platform allowed AA and NSSGA to track which meetings were taking place, in which venues, at any given time to prevent conflicts.
- Advocacy Associates’ AdvocacyDay app allowed attendees to identify, regardless of location, all logistical and substantive meeting information, including time and place, talking points, leave-behind materials, details on legislators, and more.
- Staff with NSSGA secured private meeting rooms in one of the three venues to ensure privacy and mitigate background noise for online meetings, as well as a new “speed dating” structure allowing attendees to meet with members of Congress off the Hill within short periods of time.
- Technology and staff-driven solutions allowed the NSSGA/Advocacy Associates team to maximize meeting opportunities with congressional offices. Offices that could meet only virtually were accommodated through the AdvocacyDay platform, offices that allowed in-person meetings in the Capitol complex were arranged, and meetings with large numbers of constituents took place off-site through a private venue.
- Coordinating multiple styles of meetings across multiple venues between 250 attendees and 200 Congressional offices required a combination of outstanding technology, outstanding staff, and an ability to find creative solutions. Faced with the various logistical complexities, Advocacy Associates scheduled 97% of meetings requested.
“Connecting advocates with their members of Congress has become more and more challenging in recent years,” said Stephanie Vance, CEO of Advocacy Associates. “It’s an honor to work with clients like the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association to ensure their members’ voices are heard.”
“Advocacy is Job #1 at NSSGA, so having our association members connect and build relationships with their own members of Congress is extremely important to us. Initially, the pandemic created logistical challenges in accomplishing that goal,” said Michele Stanley, vice president of government and regulatory affairs, at NSSGA. “However, through our partnership with Advocacy Associates, we created an innovative approach to meet with members of Congress during our industry fly-in and successfully met our members’ needs. We strive to create an accessible means for the aggregates and industrial sand industries to reach their lawmakers and this collaboration exceeded our expectations.”
“We developed the AdvocacyDay app to provide advocates with the tools they need to deliver powerful messages to their members of Congress,” said Randy Ford, partner at Advocacy Associates. “Having the NSSGA use this resource to drive the success of their event reflects the power technology has to promote highly-effective effective citizen engagement.”