Government Relations is Essential to Advancing the FM Profession
As part of IFMA’s continuing efforts to magnify the role of the facility management professional and to help shape issues of importance to the profession, we have maintained an aggressive legislative monitoring and advocacy program in Washington, D.C.
IFMA has well-informed advocates in Washington, including staff and regular visits by the board of directors.
However, the greatest resource of a professional association is its members.
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It is critically important to reach out to your elected officials at the federal, state and local levels. Help them understand the importance of the built environment and the awesome impact the FM has on issues like energy efficiency and sustainability.
Becoming engaged in the legislative process can be intimidating—it shouldn’t be. Always remember that your elected officials work for you. You pay their salary and they will only keep their jobs if you continue to support them. Most of all, they need information to do their jobs effectively, and by becoming involved in the process you can help ensure that the decision they make will not adversely impact you or your profession.
Before becoming engaged in the legislative process—in either the local, state or federal level—it’s important to have a basic understanding of the process, what to expect in a meeting and how you can effectively convey your message. Below, you will find a few suggested talking points on areas you may want to cover in your meetings or conversations. This list is by no means exhaustive and we encourage you to address any issues that come up in the course of conversation. These talking points will make for a good jumping off point.
- Introduce yourself and IFMA. Let whoever you are meeting with know where you are from and why you are there.
- Provide them an overview of IFMA, leadership experiences, if any, and our government affairs efforts. Specifically, you may want to highlight the core competencies, the benefits of IFMA membership and the value of the CFM® and FMP credentials.
- Highlight the IFMA Foundation and IFMA research. It may be particularly helpful to touch on the research we are doing regarding energy efficiency.
- As far as government affairs, you may want to mention that we are working to provide the FM perspective on Capitol Hill. We are making sure that federal facility managers have access to IFMA’s education and credentialling programs, as well as peer-to-peer interaction and industry best practices.
- Share your personal story. Let them know what you do every day and how it impacts their state or congressional district. Some people may not know what a facility management professional does—it is our job to educate them.
- Talk briefly about your local chapters, membership and activities. It’s always good to let them know there are many members in their states and districts.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Meetings on Capitol Hill are often done “on the fly.” Don’t worry if you have to wait for a meeting or if you end up meeting with someone other than the individual you are scheduled to meet with.
- When the meeting concludes, thank them for their time and be sure to exchange cards or contact information. You will also be provided IFMA “leave behind” materials.
- Someone from PACE LLP will be in attendance in each meeting. If you have any questions or if the meeting gets into something unfamiliar, the PACE staff is there to help out.
- Congressional staff serve as the eyes and ears for members of congress, and regularly report on all meetings. Do not be discouraged if your representative is unable to attend your meeting.