In order for lawmakers to understand the credit union mission, credits unions first have to reach out to them.
Here's advice from some league political advocacy experts:
• Don’t wait. The first time you speak with an elected official shouldn’t be when you’re asking for his or her support. Establish a relationship early, and “you won’t just go in with your hand out,” says Michael Lanotte, senior vice president of association services and general counsel for the Credit Union Association of New York.
• Provide examples. You have to distinguish your issue from the horde of others before Congress, so be precise about how credit union issues affect people in the lawmaker’s district. Give clear, concrete examples.
• Put in the work. Invest time and energy in your relationships with elected officials. “This helps with the trust factor,” says Christopher Kemm, vice president of political affairs at Mountain West Credit Union Association.
• Donate. “Being in the game financially also matters,” says Dave Adams, president/CEO of the Michigan Credit Union League, which raises PAC money and has an advocacy fund.
• Create credit union champions. Focus on new members of Congress who could be future leaders and credit union champions. Don’t overlook local and state officials—many of them wind up in Congress.