All our in-depth fun interviews with advocacy leaders to help you up your game:

Getting out the Vote & Building Member Value in 2020 and Beyond

This week we’re joined by Dorian Wanzer, Advocacy Manager, Global Government Relations at International Paper to take an in-depth look at her organization’s GOTV program. From getting the CEO involved to staying out of partisan politics, we walk thru how important getting-out-the-vote is, where to get started, best practices, pitfalls to avoid and more. With state and federal elections every year, GOTV isn’t just something to dabble in, but another opportunity to reach out to your membership and another way to build member value, build engagement and more.

Strengthening Associations & Advocacy: The important work of associations & the need for PPP funding

Jeff Evans, the Associate Director of Public Policy from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) joins us as we dive into the fundamental role associations play in America’s economy. Specifically, there’s a misconception that associations are nothing more than lobbyists, created with the sole purpose of throwing bags of money at legislators. What that fails to take into account is the tireless work associations do on behalf of their members while at the same time driving the economy with events, restaurant & bar bookings, leadership training, skill building, coaching and more.


Omitted from the original CARES act and funding for just these misconceptions many associations are fighting for their livelihood right now. This week we dive into the work associations are doing, the potential for associations to receive funding in the next round of stimulus and everything in between – including a 4x increase in staff meetings they’ve been able to set with Hill staff to help their members better explain the need.

Increasing Advocate Engagement – Proven Media Strategies

Groups and associations growing right now and pulling their members and advocates closer to them are executing some simple media strategies. On this episode Producer Blake from Human Factor and Andy share what these groups are doing, proven ideas, tools and strategy, and how you can do the same. Much of this episode focuses on podcasting tips for those who currently have a podcast, and tips to start one because advocate engagement through association podcasts have skyrocketed during COVID. It then pivots to new tips for better virtual events to help provide more value to your members and advocates and diversify your engagements with them to become their trusted new source.

PAC’s Nick DeSarno on Advocacy’s (R)evolution

Nick DeSarno, Head of Grassroots & Advocacy at the Public Affairs Council joins us this week to talk digital (r)evolution. Over the past 4 months, advocacy groups, associations & corporations have been forced to overhaul their digital / virtual efforts. That means virtual fly-ins, virtual trainings, digital advocacy tools, videos, podcasts and more. What’s been working? Who’s succeeding? What’s been falling flat? We’ll hear from Nick as he walks us through both success stories & cautionary tales, guiding our listeners/watchers to be better advocates both today and into the future.

Personalizing Advocacy to Move the Dial

In this episode, we’re joined by David Lusk, Founder of Key Advocacy, as he walks us through how successful organizations are surveying, cultivating and empowering advocates to “Extend the Enterprise.” In short, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all message for your advocates, so why are many groups employing that same strategy when talking to legislators. Instead, successful groups are evaluating the decision maker and picking the right messengers with the right message to get them the commitment they need.

Tips to Maximizing Your Time & Advocacy Efforts During COVID

Jordan Craig of the American Forest & Paper Association sits on the help desk this week as we talk about making the most of everyone’s time during quarantine. We focus on balance and building – from repurposing videos captured pre-quarantine, to being succinct and even texting Hill staff – Jordan walks us through how some of his tried and true government relations tactics have evolved over the last few months. It’s a deep dive episode as we talk through how AF&PA has adjusted their overall messaging, embraced new quick-hit tactics and found success on both the state & federal level.

Race and Diversity in Advocacy – The need for change.

Ryan Hamilton joins us from his home in downtown Minneapolis to share his thoughts on race and diversity in Associations and Advocacy. Ryan is the Diversity Manager for the Univ. of Minnesota, a former Capitol Hill staffer, and former advocacy pro for the Minnesota Relator Association. He shares his journey and thoughts on diversity in advocacy – what association leaders need to do to move beyond statements to real diversity, as well as how groups need to help activate their members to support local change.

Best PAC-tices: Why PACs are so vital to successful advocacy

2 amazing public affairs leaders Jennifer Brooks, PAC Manager at Northrop Grumman, and Kristin Brackemyre, Director of PAC and Government Relations at the Public Affairs Council, join us for this lively discussion on Political Action Committees (PACs). So many in advocacy don’t have a true picture of what PACs are and how important they are to advocacy – we work to dispel myths while hearing tips and best practices to managing PACs in a changing political landscape!

Totally Transforming Advocacy Comms & The Future of Lobbying

Award winning advocacy leaders Erica Farage, Vice President of Political Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy for the International Franchise Association and Caitlin Donahue, Senior Vice President and Director of Digital for Curley Company join us this week to talk transformation. Transformation of advocacy communications, strategy, engagement, and lobbying. A MUST WATCH for every advocacy professional!

Running Successful Virtual Events – Real Lessons Learned & New Strategies

Several groups have already run successful virtual events and we share everything that went right a wrong on this episode. We kill theory and go straight to discussing platforms, tactics, costing and revenue, content strategy, live versus taped and networking in a digital world. Learn tactics and strategy and what you need to think about!

“Everything is on the Table”: AARP’s Advocacy Evolution During COVID

Reshma Mehta, Director of Grassroots Advocacy with AARP is on the Advocacy Help Desk this week! We’ll dive in to how one of the nation’s largest organizations is pivoting during this unprecedented time and putting everything on the table. In fact, AARP’s biggest surprise has been…

3 Keys to Successful Advocacy During Quarantine

This week we’re joined by Amie Adams, President of Dunn Associates. A 20+ year veteran of working with associations, non-profits, PACs and more, Amie walks us through what organizations need to do TODAY to connect with their advocates / contributors. Again, now is not the time for the traditional!

Elevate your advocacy efforts during this crisis

Tommy Goodwin, Head of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at the Project Management Institute (PMI) joins to discuss new leadership and succeeding in this time of crisis. We talk about how advocacy professionals need to adjust workflows, mindsets and use new tools to engage with their audiences and really make an impact.

How to Run Successful ‘Virtual’ (VIDEO) Advocacy Meetings

Fly-ins are cancelled – but virtual (VIDEO) fly-ins are just as easy and more effective! We break down, step-by-step, how you can connect your advocates on video calls with staffers – and why they can be MORE successful than face-to-face meetings! 

Special Episode: Associations & COVID-19

It’s no secret that organizations and their members look to peers for guidance. With the emergence of COVID-19, this is more true now than ever. As groups shuffle, reschedule, suspend and cancel their events, AHD is joined by Mary Kate Cunningham, VP of Public Policy @ ASAE to dive into how associations are helping guide their membership.

Advocacy Innovation: The Future of Advocacy is….

In the advocacy space, we talk a lot about what’s coming next, what’s down the line, what should practitioners be looking towards in the future. This week, we bring on Mike Panetta of the Beekeeper Group to talk through what he sees as some of the challenges and opportunities of new technology. From Virtual Reality to Voice to Tik Tok, how are organizations employing the latest tools, and, more importantly, what are some of the things they should keep in mind when pitching the idea. The future is bright, how can advocacy groups keep their folks up-to-date while engaging a whole new generation of potential advocates who consume information completely differently.

Small Data = Better Data = Effective Advocacy

On this episode we’re joined by Henri Makembe, who helps us dive into the type of data you should be looking for, where you can find it, and what best practices look like for getting started. It’s not Big Data, it’s better, smaller data points that really drive effective advocacy efforts.

How to Properly Leverage LinkedIn for Advocacy

This week we’re joined by Erica Pyatt, who helps us dive into LinkedIn’s potential for brands, advocacy efforts, targeting and more.

The What of Storytelling

Janelle Brevard, Chief Storyteller at the National Association of Realtors join us to talk about why stories matter – every advocacy pro can pick up a tidbit here and there from this convo over both what makes a story compelling [hint, you better know your audience!] and, at the same time, what makes a good storyteller.

Tips to Managing Your Overall Advocacy Program

Joe Franco, VP of Grassroots at LeadingAge and President of the GPN, shares key tips engaging advocates, building a stronger network, the importance of storytelling and what successful PACs are doing to fundraise. 

Using Video and Audio (Podcasts) to Enhance Your Advocacy Game

Caitlin Donahue, Senior VP and Head of Digital at the Curley Company shares the keys to setting up a video advocacy program (from script to equipment) and how to develop engaging content to drive action and grow your grassroots network. With 80% of the internet now video content, we encourage you to watch this episode and get started with dynamic video and even podcasting!

Advocacy Influencers, Database Management and Storytelling Tips!

Matthew Wright of the Children’s Hospital Association joins us to talk about advocacy storytelling, using influencers and how to better manage advocate data and lists! He’s won multiple awards for his work in advocacy – and he shares some great tips to getting your game to the next level!

How to REALLY Use Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for Advocacy

AHD’s tech experts show how VR/AR are being used commercially and discuss ideas on how to use them for advocacy – and actually show steps you can use to make it happen! A must watch for advocacy innovation!

How to Sell Your Ideas and Sell Your Advocates on Action

Jenna Golden, founder of Golden Strategies, educates us on how important it is to think like a salesperson in advocacy. How to read the room and pinpoint your language to get your advocates attention, speak their language, and get them to act.

How to Greatly Improve Your Hill Meetings And Get To “Ripple Advocacy”

AHD’s team talks about what nearly everyone in advocacy does wrong in regards to their Hill meetings. Andy breaks things down from a Congressional staffer viewpoint and lists several simple things people can do to ensure their message breaks through and moves the ball during their meetings with staffers and Members of Congress. 

All The Top Tips on Starting an Advocacy Podcast

Blake literally wrote the book on association podcasts! And here he not only runs the audio production for this podcast – but he talks about the key things you need to know before you start a podcast to make it successful! And the truth is everyone needs a podcast – so listen up to these key tips!