Three Advocacy Lessons I Learned From the Nats

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Three Advocacy Lessons I Learned From the Nats

UPDATED 10/31/19: The Nats have done it! For the first time in franchise history, they have brought the title home to D.C. By sticking to the basics, overcoming the setbacks experienced in games 3, 4 and 5, and by never giving up the fight, they have inspired our city and pulled off the improbable. #FightFinished

As the 720 Strategies team made our way into the office this morning, tired yet inspired by the dominant showing by the Nats last night, we recognize that for many organizations, the need to #StayInTheFight is greater now more than ever. Reach out today to see how we can put that same winning mentality to work for you!

Ryan Zimmerman 2019 World Series

Like most of Washington, DC, the 720 Strategies team has been glued to our televisions this past month, watching the Nationals pull off the unthinkable: reaching the World Series for the first time in franchise history. And it could not have come at a more perfect time for our city.

For the first time in several years, the focus has shifted away from investigations, scandals, partisan bickering and, more recently, impeachment. This improbable run has brought our city together and reminded us that there are still things out there that unite us, even in this polarized town.

As I have dwelled on this thought, another one has crept into the back of my mind. This euphoric and captivating moment will shortly come to an end, either in the triumph of a World Series title, or the sadness of a blown lead. When the series comes to a close, we will inevitably be thrown right back into the deep end, working to advance our issues in a difficult political climate.

As this reality started to sink in, I began to ask myself, “What lessons can we take from this historic moment and apply to our work once the dust on the mound settles?”

Focus on the Basics of the Game

As I watched Game 2 of the World Series, one thing became evident. The Astros were too preoccupied with trying to smash the home run while the Nats focused on the basics of the game — stealing bases, hitting those singles and doubles, and putting in the hard ground game.

Far too often, organizations try to find that silver bullet to pass their legislation rather than focusing on the nuts and bolts of grassroots advocacy. Solid and easily digestible messaging, grassroots outreach, an easily navigated and relatable website, attending town halls and micro-targeting your online audience: these are the things you must do well in order to win the game.

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Do Not Dwell on Setbacks — There Is Always Another Inning and Often, Another Game

When we look at the Nats’ run in the playoffs when they went from 2-1 down in the series against the Dodgers to an incredible run of eight straight wins against the odds, I have found myself struck at their resilience and their refusal to give up hope. Despite starting the World Series by going up 2-0 and then watching the Astros take the lead 3-2, we know the Nats will be giving it their all. They’ve shown their stuff all season.

Far too often in advocacy, I have seen organizations throw in the towel or lose hope after they lose a committee vote or the fight in one chamber of Congress. This is the time where you must dig deep and refocus your efforts for the next inning. There is no setback that an excellent grassroots campaign and retooled messaging can not overcome.

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Do Not Be Afraid To Readjust on the Fly

One moment from this series that has stuck with me occurred in the sixth inning of Game 1. Patrick Corbin was brought in as the relief pitcher for Max Scherzer but was pulled off after lasting less than an inning. The tactical change had not been working out as planned, and the Astros were getting hit after hit.

Rather than sticking with the decision, Dave Martinez showed real leadership and changed tactics, which proved to be the right call, as the Nats ran out 5-4 winners.

Far too often, leaders in the advocacy world are afraid to make those calls, and it often results in defeat. Do not be afraid to throw out what is not working and start from scratch, change tactics or bring in another player to help if what you’re doing is not reaping the results you need.

As the dust starts to settle in DC and we hang up our jerseys until next season, take the steps now to prepare your organization to leave it all on the field for your issues, industry, members, customers or employees. And if you want to bring in a relief pitcher to help push your issue over the top for the win, reach out to the 720 Strategies team. We’re ready to go to bat for you – with #Natitude.

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Alec Thomas is senior director of client relations. Before 720 strategies, he spent seven years in various communications roles on political campaigns and in the United States House of Representatives. Alec works on some of 720 Strategies’ largest accounts, helping clients to achieve their communications and grassroots mobilization goals. 

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