NAA’s Advocacy Programs Deliver Results

July 6, 2021 |

Updated July 6, 2021

3 minutes

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how crucial advocacy is in educating lawmakers on the rental housing industry and pushing for meaningful, positive action. As a prime example, the National Apartment Association’s (NAA) grasstops advocacy program, the Key Contact Program, allows members to connect with their representatives and enact meaningful change alongside them. The Key Contact Program, though not new, is being revitalized to better incentivize participants, more effectively cultivate relationships with legislators and ultimately impact more housing policy across the country.

Key Contacts help maintain relationships as constituents and as “grasstops advocates,” which is slightly different than the typical “grassroots” term:

  • Grassroots Advocacy consists of campaigns that build widespread support to help shape political and policy conversations. Grassroots advocates are individuals who are willing to take action online, on the phone and by mail to contact their lawmakers on important issues. Grassroots advocates are also willing to participate in lobby days and occasional in-person meetings with their elected officials to educate them on issues.
  • A grasstops advocate is an individual who understands the issues facing their industry and has a current relationship or is willing to cultivate a relationship with their elected officials, and has shown interest in participating in more high-level, on-going policy discussions.

According to the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), 95% of Members of Congress surveyed by CMF said that “keeping in touch with constituents is very important,” reiterating how crucial Key Contacts are to NAA’s broader advocacy efforts. As someone who is willing to build a relationship and serve as a resource for a specific congressional office, educating them on federal housing issues and housing policy changes within their community, these individuals can provide a personal perspective that is invaluable.

An NAA member who communicates and maintains a relationship with a Member of Congress on important issues gives our industry an advantage when it comes to influencing policy decisions. Just how effective are Key Contacts at impacting their Member of Congress on an issue? According to CMF, who surveyed congressional staff on this very question, it takes about 100 form messages from multiple constituents to get out of the mailroom and gain the attention of the Member of Congress. On the other hand, it takes less than 10 emails from a Key Contact (over time) on a particular issue to draw their member’s attention.

Become a Key Contact today and help impact housing policy in your community and across the country. You can also visit NAA’s Key Contact web page for more information on the program and how our Key Contacts are able to drive change. Further, some of NAA’s newest advocacy programs, listed below, allow additional opportunities for everyone to get involved in making a meaningful difference in the rental housing industry.

  • Influencer Program – Share and engage with NAA’s advocacy-related posts on social media to educate your network, including your Members of Congress, on vital housing industry issues.
  • Letter to the Editor (LTE) Program – Help write and submit letters to the editor (LTEs) to publications within your state or congressional district. Help further pro apartment industry - policies by educating Members of Congress and the public on issues facing our industry.

For any questions on the Key Contact Program or any of NAA’s other advocacy programs, please contact Austin O’Boyle, Manager of Grassroots Engagement.