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The CTA Made Themselves Heard. You Can, Too

The CTA Made Themselves Heard. You Can, Too.

It’s hard to overstate the impact of this year’s election. The races will decide who controls the White House, Congress and thousands of state offices. Polling, debates, rallies and commentary will dominate news cycles all year long.

So, what happens to the everyday business of government? The truth is that much of it goes on, even if the pace is slower and the work gets far less media attention. Regulatory agencies continue to make rules. Lawmakers continue to pass bills. In the case of Congress, the flow of legislation may decrease but it will not stop. 

That means that associations and other advocacy organizations still have opportunities—and in some cases, obligations—to push for changes even as the U.S. government goes through its traditional four-year churn. In short, your association can still make a difference on policy. 

To learn more about how to maximize your impact in 2020, download Sharpen Your Advocacy in an Election Year

Taking on Legislation

It’s tough to argue that there is a “good time” to address legislative change. In a two-year election cycle, lawmakers are almost always recovering from the last election or looking forward to the next. The best that advocacy organizations can do is to be ready when a favorable environment presents itself. 

Such was the case for the Consumer Technology Association, which represents more than 2,000 consumer tech companies. The association fights for policies that encourage innovation and the development of new technologies. So when the Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act came before Congress, the association made a major push to get it enacted. 

The bill was designed to remove federal restrictions prohibiting manufacturers from marketing Personal Sound Amplification Products or PSAPs, non-prescription hearing devices that can help people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The bill would allow them to be sold over the counter. 

“Getting PSAPs on the same shelf as over-the-counter eyeglasses would be a major win for consumers” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CTA, said in a release at the time. “The high cost of hearing aids, combined with the inconvenience and cost of doctor appointments, results in most adults with mild hearing loss not getting the hearing assistance they need. PSAPs can provide a less expensive, readily available array of products.”

How the CTA Won

The CTA operated a digital campaign on multiple fronts. They launched digital ads to inform consumers about the limitations on hearing aid choices and what the bill would do. They also launched an effort to influence federal lawmakers called Listen Up Congress.

At the heart of the effort was a landing page for the campaign powered by Phone2Action, listenupcongress.org, that helped educate consumers about the issue. The page was visited more than 6,000 times over the course of the campaign. Even more active were CTA social media channels, where the association saw more than 35,000 social engagements.

In the end, the CTA recruited more than 1,300 new advocates in 49 states and persuaded them to take action. They sent more than 3,000 emails to members of Congress, reaching 276 Republicans and  182 Democrats. The legislation passed and was signed into law.

“Consumers with mild-to-moderate hearing loss will no longer be at the mercy of companies selling expensive and cost-prohibitive hearing aids that cost thousands of dollars,” Shapiro said in a release celebrating the president’s signing of the bill. “Instead, 40 million Americans living with hearing loss in the future can buy over-the-counter hearing aids at roughly one-tenth of what traditional hearing aids cost.”

To learn more about how to maximize your impact in 2020, download Sharpen Your Advocacy in an Election Year

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