January 17, 2011

Why Associate members should get involved in Advocacy.

Sometimes Associates are not sure how they can help the building industry other than sell good products and services. What Associates don’t always realize is the power they have to affect the building economy through advocacy. Advocacy relates to all aspects of working with elected officials to create a strong building climate. Politics is a numbers game – number of votes and number of dollars. One thing Associates have in the Association is numbers. So how can an Associate help? Depending on how much of a political “junkie” you are, there are several levels of involvement you can choose from.
An easy way to get involved with National advocacy is to join NAHB’s new BuilderLink Grassroots Program, which connects members of Congress to the people who matter most — their constituents – aka you. There are two ways to become involved with BuilderLink. One, become a BuilderLink Advocate and communicate with emails, letters, and phone calls. The material is all prepared for you and you just push a button to send it to your elected officials. Second option is to be a BuilderLink Ambassador and create a personal relationship with a member of Congress. This is much more “hands on” and great for people who live to discuss issues with elected officials. And, if you are already on a first name basis with your Congressman (for good reasons) even better You can easily sign up for either option of BuilderLink on the NAHB website.
A second, fun way to get involved is to attend the Legislative Conference (LegCon) in WashingtonDC. This is a full day of issue orientation and Capitol Hill visits. If you have never sprinted from the House to the Senate, talked with legislators as they walk down the hall, met staffers that look like they aren’t old enough for a driver’s license yet, or shared issue discussions with builders from your state surrounded by marble – you have to try it! This year’s LegCon is 3/16/2011. Make your reservations and join fellow Associates and Builders as we fight to keep this nation building. You might wonder what an Associate adds to these meetings. Associates help legislators see the many companies that supply products and services to Builders that are affected when Builders aren’t building. Your attendance emphasizes the “industry” of building, as well as, offers support to your Builders and Government Affairs staff.
Third, if this is politics, there is money talking. As a member of record, you can contribute to our national political action committee BUILD-PAC and help provide the necessary financial clout to make the building industry voice heard in WashingtonDC. BUILD-PAC's support of candidates who make housing a national priority helps all of us continue to work. And giving to BUILD-PAC isn’t painful. The amount is up to you. Again, this is an area where Associates have the numbers necessary to create a powerful PAC. As important as total dollars in a PAC is, how many members give to a PAC is maybe even more important to demonstrate the power behind the PAC. Every contributor equals a potential voter.
So, as an Associate, getting involved with the legislative efforts of NAHB is a great way to support your Builder members and the industry you work in. Congressional decisions affect the bottom line of all of our businesses. I urge you to join BuilderLink today, put NAHB Legislative Conference, 3/16/11, on your schedule and find out more about BUILD-PAC. You will be well on your way to being an “Active Involved Associate”.
Remember, if it affects a Builder, it will affect an Associate. Become part of the system to keep America building.

Submitted by: Monica Sommerfeldt Lewis, CAPS, CGA
                            NAHB Associate Advocacy sub committee chair

No comments: