Moreover, although a smidge of self-interest is involved, we like to believe that the betterment of society through HF/E (a core value) is the chief driving force behind our advocacy efforts. We recognize that the policy establishment is largely unaware of both the field’s past contributions (to safety, efficiency, convenience, and comfort) and its vast unrealized potential. So for us, GR is about informing policy through a variety of less draconian advocacy vehicles – including endorsing key appointments, presenting congressional testimony and briefings, and supporting appropriations bills and specific agency programs.
Given its modest size, the diversity of represented interests, and the fact that literally thousands of equally worthy organizations are vying for attention through these same vehicles, HFES must be highly selective and strategic in its GR activities. Timing and leveraging are at least as critical as HF/E relevance in this regard. For example, effort spent trying to educate key members of Congress or their staffs on the virtues of HF/E in the absence of some specific issue or decision currently on their radar is totally wasted.
To be effective, advocacy must engage a current issue and do so in support of some specific action. And in any such effort, the impact of multiple advocacy organizations is vital both because of the sheer number of voting constituencies represented and because it reduces the appearance of sheer self-interest (the default assumption about any professional organization’s advocacy effort).