No matter what industry you work in, you will learn that it is important to have your company’s interest represented in politics. This allows for policies that influence your industry to be on the legislative agenda and allows your company to contribute to the betterment of society. For FHL Bank Pittsburgh, the bank wanted to prioritize policies that would influence the future of America’s housing finance system.
How can you get your company’s policy priorities into the government’s agenda? It’s likely different for every company. For FHL Bank, there was the challenge of establishing a grassroots campaign despite a low profile. To seek out the best tactics to get FHL Bank and those the bank represented in government, they sought the help from Bravo Group.
Bravo Group developed a strategy to gain the attention of state and local representatives. Components of this strategy included public policy network briefings, presenting project funding awards with policy makers in each state, and media coverage of the briefings and awards. These efforts helped demonstrate that FHL Bank Pittsburgh had a vested interest in the well being of local and state governments and wanted to work for the common good.
I spoke with Bill Miller, Senior Director at Bravo, who played a large role in the win. He shared with me some valuable lessons he learned through this project. Bill learned that sometimes it is better to have the support of a few individuals that strongly care about a cause rather than thousands of anonymous supporters.
“Sometimes we can focus too much on numbers when running a grassroots campaign or organization. But in reality, quality frequently beats quantity,” said Bill. “With FHL Bank, it was not necessary to have thousands of supporters, just a powerful cadre of association executives, community bank CEOs and other prominent figures in the community.”
Bill found the work with FHL Bank to be extremely rewarding. “Each year, FHL Bank provides ten percent of its earnings to affordable housing projects,” Bill told me. “This includes everything from homeless shelters to first time homebuyer programs. Being a part of the check presentations and meeting those helped was very inspirational.”
I took away helpful lessons from speaking with Bill and learning about this campaign. First, I learned the importance of having strong support system within a campaign. A handful of caring and influential people can be invaluable. Second, I learned that in any campaign, participating in a good cause is both helpful and rewarding. One of my favorite parts of interning at Bravo is seeing the good in the work here. The campaign with FHL Bank is a perfect example.