Ward to the Wise

Stakeholder Relations: Engaging Elected Officials

american-flag-elected-officialsOne would think it was a given, but many organizations fail to recognize the influence elected officials have over their constituents.  After all, they were elected by those they serve to represent constituents’ best interests.  So, why is it that frequently organizations fail to engage elected officials when implementing major transformative initiatives, instead, leaving them to “hear about it through the grapevine?”  Strategically reaching out to key elected officials allows organizations to focus key influencers on the organization’s point of view, identify and address potential issues in advance, build advocates and influence outcomes.

Early, Frequent, and Ongoing communications

Savvy stakeholder relations teams (made up of communication experts and sometimes lobbyists) have long understood the influence of elected officials in building support and consensus, as well as the importance of communicating with these influencers on a regular, consistent basis.  By following a few straightforward steps, organizations can develop stakeholder relations programs that effectively engage these key influencers and inform, direct and improve public outreach.

Elected officials can be great allies and supporters for major infrastructure or transformative initiatives, and more so if they are not taken by surprise or educated by your opposition first.  In many instances, their approval is required for project approval. Recognizing their influence, and communicating honestly, openly and frequently is essential for positive relationships with this key group. Of course, no amount of communication will override poor deeds, unkept promises or abuses of public trust.  You must earn the trust you request.

If you’d like to tap into Ward’s stakeholder relations expertise, contact us and we can support you in achieving your next important initiative.

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