Creating a Legislative Budget

Financial Planning for Advocacy Activities

Create an Advocacy Budget

It is no secret that establishing a budget is a critical feature of managing an affiliate society. Based on the advocacy action plan, and with input from the legislative chair during the budgeting process, your affiliate leaders will be able to make decisions about what specifics should be included in the affiliate budget, how costs can be minimized and the best way to see a return on investment. 

Hire a Lobbyist

If your affiliate anticipates changes to licensure or regulations as a result of a difficult political environment or stakeholder opposition, you might want to consider hiring a person who knows the legislative and regulatory system who can speak to the issues at hand, manage the advocacy campaign and bring lobbying expertise. Hiring a lobbyist is often the best route; however, it can be expensive and requires day-to-day management of the lobbyist's activities.

Because most state legislative sessions begin in January, you should consider hiring a lobbyist well before the legislature convenes, especially if your affiliate plans to introduce legislation or anticipates problems that need to be addressed during the upcoming session. If the affiliate leadership determines that a lobbyist is needed, you should negotiate with the lobbyist to determine a payment basis (retainer vs. actual hours) and any other associated expenses.

Update Your Website 

This expense should be included as a line item on your affiliate's main operational budget. Website costs can vary widely. For example, if you budget to hire a web content manager who maintains your website or if you use a volunteer from your society, that cost will need to be considered. Remember that volunteers come and go, so to ensure continuity of your advocacy website content, a paid position might be needed.

Community Involvement

The affiliate society might want to consider creating an operational budget line item to participate in community activities like walks, health fairs and hospital events. Costs can be as minimal as supplying refreshments at a breast cancer walk or heart health awareness event. If your affiliate chooses to participate in events like these, there might be costs associated with creating T-shirts or items identifying the affiliate society and radiologic technology profession.

Advertise Your Advocacy Issues to Lawmakers and the Public

Affiliate societies should take every opportunity to promote members' roles in providing patient care and issues that could affect R.T.s’ ability to provide quality medical imaging examinations. Free opportunities to promote the affiliate and advocacy program are available, such as on the affiliate website and through traditional media (press releases and event notices); however, paid media advertising guarantees that your news and information will be published or aired.

Many advocacy expenses can be planned and included in the budget. Your affiliate might want to consider setting aside funds in a legislative discretionary account at the direction of the affiliate board to respond to an unplanned and unbudgeted situations. If your society has policies in place for board reimbursement or board expenses, affiliate leadership might want to consider extending these policies to cover travel to the Capitol for the legislative chair to testify on a bill or attend a meeting.