The Importance of Membership Engagement in the Political Process
Scott Marks | Government Affairs Manager | TIA
Membership engagement is crucial to any association or member-oriented business. Having a politically engaged membership can be the difference in getting that “yes” vote on an important piece of legislation that could impact the industry. The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) and the role its members play in the logistics and supply chain is critical, and it’s important that that message is heard.
A TIA Member engaging with a Member of Congress (MOC) can gain support from likeminded industry leaders who will echo our social media outreach, bolstering our message. Members can also gain traction with their MOCs by participating in fundraising calls with TIA’s Government Affairs team. By asking questions related to the 3PL industry and discussing industry-related topics, the conservation becomes far more substantive.
Traditionally, TIA would send a formal position statement to MOCs – a one to one-and-a-half-page letter along with supporting material delivered by mail. These letters would clearly outline and explain TIA’s position on a given issue and why a piece of legislation would either be detrimental or bolster or sector of the supply chain industry. This formal position statement would “check the box,” making clear to a congressional office where TIA stands – and why. These letters, however, can only go so far. There is a far more efficient, direct, and all-around smarter way to reach and influence your MOCs.
You MUST engage on social media with your MOCs and other elected officials to influence and drive the conversation about the issue(s) that are important to you and your business. For the most part, elected officials like to monitor their own social media accounts – most notably on Twitter. Coordinating with TIA’s Government Affairs team on crafting a unified message helps to reinforce TIA’s formal position statements, while also providing members with the opportunity to express their own thoughts and opinions; a (TIA) Member-Member (of Congress) connection.
A prime example of the political engagement available is an organization’s annual “Hill Day” or “Fly-In,” where members from across the country come to Washington, D.C. to meet with MOCs, federal regulators and other key figures. These events help members establish connections and relationships that can be used in the years to come. Utilizing this time on Capitol Hill to befriend, engage, or confront your MOCs can help move their position on an issue to that of TIA and getting the votes we need.
Throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, TIA’s Government Affairs team has become creative in maintaining or relationships and interactions with MOCs. We have brought in representatives from several our member companies to interact directly with their MOCs. We see this as a win-win situation. On one hand, we engage our members directly in the political process, pushing them to engage with their elected leaders on issues that matter, on issues of substance. For the MOC, it provides an opportunity to speak directly with a constituent and business owner from their district or state.
TIA’s Government Affairs team will continue to develop innovative and engaging strategies and approaches to interact with its members and MOCs. During the COVID-19 shutdown, there have been some policy shops that crumbled under the pressure. TIA and its members have risen to the occasion, continuing to enhance our legislative advocacy and sharpen our political gamesmanship. We look forward to continuing this fight on behalf of our members and the 3PL industry.