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IFA Needs Your Voice – Become a Franchise Congress Advocate Now

Franchise CongressMobilizing a well-trained and motivated grassroots base of supporters is the best way to deliver a message and effect change on a key policy issue. 

Advocacy and communications are noisy spaces. Over the past five years, the number of registered lobbyists at the federal level has oscillated between 9,500 and 13,000. That’s a lot of voices. Add in the thousands more who advocate at the state and local levels, plus more than 90,000 trade and professional associations, countless interest groups and 1.2 million charitable organizations, and you’ve got a lot of noise.

In this environment, Congress and state legislators face many challenges beyond partisanship and political gridlock. An exponential increase in constituent communications has occurred, while the size of the average legislator’s staff hasn’t increased in decades.

However, there’s often no better way to deliver a message and effect change on a key policy issue than by mobilizing a well-trained and motivated grassroots base of supporters. The most influential activities that can help persuade a legislator on an issue feature traditional grassroots calls-to-action, including constituent office visits, personalized letters and emails, phone calls and comments from voters at town hall meetings – that’s where you come in.

As the franchise industry continues to face its most challenging public policy battles at both the state (franchise relationship legislation) and federal (minimum wage, employer mandate) levels, the International Franchise Association needs its members as advocates on behalf of the industry, but more importantly, on behalf of your businesses.

Erica Farage is senior director of political affairs, grassroots advocacy & multi-unit franchisee engagement for the International Franchise Association.

Erica Farage is senior director of political affairs, grassroots advocacy & multi-unit franchisee engagement for the International Franchise Association.

Get Involved Now

Here are 10 easy ways that you can become a Franchise Congress advocate in your state and get involved right now.

Vote in every election.
And if you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day, make sure you request an absentee ballot. IFA will send reminders about the primary elections in your state and also any candidates that IFA’s political action committee, FranPAC, has supported.

Register to vote.
2014 is an election year. Make certain that your registration is up to date with your current address.

Find out about your elected representatives.
Do you know who they are and their positions on key franchise-related issues? These are important questions and critical to your involvement in the legislative process. You should cast an informed vote.

Host a site visit.
IFA can help coordinate a site visit at one of your franchise locations with a state legislator or members of Congress. Our staff is always eager to invite elected officials to show them what franchising is all about.

Volunteer your time.
While running a business does not leave a lot of time for extracurricular activities, candidates for elected office can’t do it all on their own. They rely on volunteers to help in their campaign office or walking precincts. This will help build relationships with your elected officials.

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
IFA can help you draft a letter to the editor on an issue that matters to your business. All you need to do is sign your name and submit the letter.

Send an e-mail.
IFA makes this easy for you on issues that impact the franchise industry through its Franchise Congress Grassroots Web site. Watch for alerts from the Government Relations Department. The letters are already drafted; you just have to hit “Send.”

Attend legislative hearings.
As we engage in legislative efforts at the state level, you will be made aware of upcoming hearings in your community. IFA can directly coordinate your involvement.  Take the time to attend. The more voices the better. We need representation at legislative hearings on important issues.

Speak up in public.
Do you belong to a Franchise Business Network, Chamber of Commerce, social club or service organization in your town or region? The people you meet in these arenas can be great advocates as well. Seize the moment to educate them on the franchise industry in your state.

Offer up your ideas.
Good ideas and relevant information are necessary to solving the challenges the franchise industry faces every day. And who better to offer those ideas than our members who really know the ins and outs of our business. Send your suggestions to our Government Relations & Public Policy staff. All will be given consideration.

Erica Farage is senior director of political affairs, grassroots advocacy & multi-unit franchisee engagement for the International Franchise Association. Find her at fransocial.franchise.org.

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