Professional societies provide important services to their membership and advancing their sectors. Furthermore, they can also play an important role in advancing their profession through engagement in DC. Engaging in DC benefits the organization, its membership, and the citadel profession. Below are five reasons that professional societies should choose to engage in DC:
They Have all the Experts: Regardless of the sector, professional societies are literally collections of leading subject matter experts and thought leaders. Policymakers are always looking for trusted resources on issues to help them understand the implications of legislative, regulatory, and funding decisions. In a town where high-level talking points often drive policymaking, the knowledge that a professional society and their membership can bring to the table is of tremendous value to their profession and to policymakers.
Engagement Elevates the Professional Society: Without question, DC engagement translates to a sense of legitimacy among players in DC and professional society members (who appreciate that their society is ‘fighting’ for their profession in the halls of Congress). It makes an organization stronger to have connectivity with the policy world and increases their ability to open new doors for their membership.
It’s Good Marketing and Branding for Members: The important research and work being done by members of professional societies, especially those with a large segment of members from academia, is opened to an entirely new audience through engagement with the federal government. The policy ecosystem - from policymakers to media to think tanks to more - are not traditionally on the distribution list for academics and have an outsized platform to elevate thought leadership and research. A great member service to members of professional societies is opening the door to these new networks that desperately need the solutions and knowledge that professional societies bring to the table.
Without Their Engagement, Someone Else is Speaking for Them: When a profession does not educate policymakers about themselves, somebody else will (and they probably will not do you any favors). It is always important that a professional society remains the leading voice for their members and doesn’t cede that to someone else. Engaging ensures that when policymaking intersects with a certain sector, the appropriate professional society is part of the conversation.
DC Engagement Creates New Press Opportunities: Just like policymakers, the press in the policy world likes to hear from experts, but too often sacrifices expertise for people who have proximity to the policy space. Engaging in DC provides more opportunities to pitch press and become a resource to journalists about issues important to the respective discipline or profession, helping both the membership and the organization.