Ewald Consulting was originally founded in 1982 by former Legislator Doug Ewald to provide government relations (GR) services to associations. Since then, we have grown to include a multitude of services such as sales, marketing, events and more. Still, government relations remain as a core part of our mission.
Why are government relations so important for associations? As an association, you aim to create a community that provides resources and support for those you serve. According to Association Forum, associations are the unified voice that can be used to impact legislation or policy.
In Lobbying: A Misunderstood Profession, Paul Miller explained, “One of the misunderstood facts about the lobbying profession is that the individuals and organizations listed in this book — all 17,000 of them — represent the interests of every American all across the country, from the small rural towns to the big cities. Yes, that’s true. If you were ever a member of the Girl Scouts. If you ever used a library. If you ever rode a snowmobile. If you ever played on a sports team…If you have done any of these or thousands of other activities in this country, you have been represented at some time by a lobbyist. In other words, anyone young or old or somewhere in the middle has a lobbyist and, in most cases is unaware of it…It’s not the stereotypical caricature, which is as familiar as the name: portly, cigar-smoking men who wine and dine lawmakers while slipping money into their pockets.”
While associations may rely on the government, the government also needs non-profits. According to Sarah Pettijohn for Urban Wire, the government may make budget cuts where they know non-profits will fill in the gaps. So while your association may need the government’s help from time to time, they need you too.
Because multiple layers of government and associations benefit from each other’s help, nurturing your association’s relationship with the government is paramount.
Having a great government relations program is just part of what it means to be a people-serving association.