The Public Affairs Council (PAC), the leading organization for public affairs professionals, honored eBay Inc.’s government relations team for its work on engaging small business advocates.
The team won the 2014 Corporate Grassroots Innovation Award, with PAC citing eBay Inc.’s approach to identifying and recruiting small business advocates across the nation to help with the ongoing issue of Internet sales tax as the primary reason for the honor.
eBay Inc.’s team identified hundreds of these small business “ambassadors” through an exhaustive survey of business owners, and then worked with them to collect stories about how the Marketplace Fairness Act would hurt their businesses. The team then summed up those stories in one-page profiles for each business, describing the effects the policy would have in the business owner’s community.
These issue backgrounders are common in grassroots advocacy, PAC said, but eBay’s approach was distinctive and highly effective.
“Everything’s about [the small business owner]; it’s not about us,” said Federica Rabiolo, associate manager, global government relations. “We really tried to keep eBay almost out of it.”
The documents can be leveraged by grassroots advocates engaging with policymakers in their communities, used for drafting letters to the editor or for op-ed pieces. They can also be used for developing talking points while contacting members of Congress. In fact, 1.5 million letters were delivered to Congress using these resources.
“By crafting these distinct and personal documents, eBay created innovative policy materials with the power to change the way advocates and policymakers talk about important issues, also making it easier for the company to build a strong base of highly invested ambassadors it can call upon in years to come,” PAC said.
Photo: Jeff Michaud and Federica Rabiolo of the eBay Inc. government relations team with the award. Courtesy of eBay Inc.