Association Advocacy, Without the Jargon

power_of_a_data_basics Associations Now September/October 2017 Issue By: Alex Beall

The Association for Corporate Growth's public database helps advocates break down economic data into basic, clear messages about jobs and growth.

Congressional staff know a little bit about a lot of things, but when association advocates jump straight into a message full of technical industry lingo during Capitol Hill visits, they may lose their lawmakers’ ears. To make industry information more accessible to legislators, and even its own members, the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) created GrowthEconomy.org.

What started out as a reference book and static website in 2013 was replaced by a public online database in 2015, displaying jobs and sales growth created by private capital investment. The searchable, dynamic website, a 2016 ASAE Power of A Summit Award winner, currently features national data from 1998 to 2015, which can be broken down by state and congressional district.

“Our members are contributing to a huge part of the economy, and that message needs to be heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill,” Vice President of Communications and Marketing Kristin Gomez says. “So when any legislation is being considered, they need to realize that not only is it affecting the financial community creating these jobs, but it’s also affecting their local constituents, who are being affected by the jobs that are created by private capital investment.”

While the site allows congressional staff to easily research and understand the data themselves, it also provides association staff and members with straightforward talking points for advocacy efforts.

“In almost every state in the nation, [private equity]-backed businesses have outperformed all businesses, and it’s an incredible talking point for us as an association,” Gomez says. “I think [GrowthEconomy.org] really became a game changer because not everybody has a financial intelligence that is the same as the people working in banking, working in investment banking firms, working in private equity firms. And it really brings it down to earth for everyone, because everyone cares about job growth and sales growth in their local community.”

In addition, ACG pulls stats from the site to highlight job and sales growth in certain states in its magazine; create fact sheets for Congress; and provide talking points for speeches, its Congressional Caucus for Middle Market Growth, and its public policy committee.

“If you really want to change opinion, you have to get back to basics and really put [your message] into words that people understand and that matter to them,” Gomez says.

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Data Basics."]

Alex Beall

Alex Beall is a former associate editor for Associations Now.