Our Expertise

The ACS team has the experience, patience and understanding required to work with organizations large and small to build customized approaches and ensure they are implemented efficiently and effectively. The firm provides clients with the right tools to maintain focus and enhance ongoing efforts now and in the future. ACS believes in the power and value of leveraging strategic communication and advocacy to bolster support for any issue. ACS knows and has proven that successfully advancing policy priorities and directly lobbying on an issue is not simply about educating legislators or talking to the right decision maker—it is a strategic combination of multiple approaches that are tailored for an organization and its specific goals.

ACS works in four primary areas of service, each tailored to the specific needs and situations of the client.

ACS expertise picture


More About ACS Services

The ACS team offers expertise for nearly every facet of advocacy and communication work. It delivers customized services with targeted results, envisions and creates powerful short- or long-term strategies, builds internal team capacity to become experts themselves, and more.


Advocacy

Government Relations

The team successfully influences government leaders at the federal, state and local levels. ACS specializes in creating trusting relationships with lawmakers, positioning its clients as sage advisors for policy debates, and helping its clients secure opportunities to provide testimony on key issues.

State and Federal Lobbying

ACS offers direct state lobbying (Ohio) and federal lobbying services (nationally) for the following:

  • short-term policy;
  • long-term policy planning; and
  • funding issues.

Policy Analysis and Planning

A sound policy plan that includes a communication component is a “must have” for garnering support. Yet, many organizations do not know where to begin when it comes to influencing decision makers. ACS help its clients determine the best approach for its public policy efforts and how to most effectively deliver its policy message. ACS will also work with its clients to engage its community and develop the right connections.

ACS policy analysis and planning services include:

  • situation analysis and overview;
  • strategy development;
  • policy review and analysis;
  • evaluation of political context and realities;
  • direct lobbying; and
  • plan development and implementation.

Communication

To rally supporters to a cause, an organization first must understand who they are, what they do and why others should care. With experience in both crafting and delivering communication that influences key audiences, ACS helps attract and hold the positive attention the organization deserves. ACS’ communication services provide a wide range of opportunities to “win” on any issue.

Media Relations

One of the most effective ways to build public support for a cause — and influence government decision makers is to conduct a thorough media relations campaign. ACS has worked on both sides of the media, in the media and in news-making government and nonprofit agencies. ACS can put together effective print, radio, television and social media strategies. ACS also can create a targeted campaign to ensure the most influential media outlets receive timely information about the cause, thereby encouraging policymakers, decision makers and stakeholders to act on the client’s behalf. With a “win ratio” of more than 80 percent, ACS shifted perceptions and conversations to deliver action and positive change.

ACS media relations services include:

  • editorial board introductions;
  • opinion editorial development and placement;
  • relationship building;
  • media training;
  • media audits; and
  • media relations (press release, media advisory, story pitching, etc.).

Strategic Communication, Tools, and Messaging

ACS believes that every client is unique, and the tools they use to share their messages should be unique as well. We write, design and produce a full spectrum of custom print and electronic pieces to help clients represent themselves well and raise awareness for their issues in engaging and compelling ways. Customized services include:

  • editorial content development;
  • website content;
  • graphic design for print or electronic media;
  • social media strategy and guidance;
  • message development;
  • a full spectrum of tools, such as brochures, newsletters, reports, email templates, and more.

Plan Development and Implementation (Local, Statewide and National)

ACS has developed and implemented communication and media relations strategies, conducted trainings, written speeches and talking points for more than 30 city, county and statewide issue and candidate campaigns, and have been the lead staff on dozens of communication efforts. ACS also has drafted internal/external communication audits and strategic and tactical communication plans for nonprofits, philanthropic, and government agencies.


Strategy Development

The efforts an organization makes are only as good as their strategy. From creating targeted communication or advocacy strategies, to breaking down strategy into an actionable work plan, to helping the client integrate communication and advocacy more completely into the overall operations, ACS can help its clients’ efforts become much more effective.

ACS strategy development services for advocacy, communication and building an infrastructure includes the following services:

  • audience definition and research;
  • key message development;
  • implementation of plan elements;
  • crisis communication planning;
  • collective impact and coalition building; and
  • strategic grassroots communication and mobilization.

Capacity Building

While outside help is great for boosting advocacy and communication activities, nothing provides long-term staying power like internal capacity and expertise. ACS regularly conducts trainings and develops strategies to help build the capacity of organizations to engage in communication and advocacy efforts. ACS can help build the capacity of a team, so the team can effectively meet its organization’s objectives.

Training and Infrastructure Review

ACS can help the team learn new skills, enhance knowledge, make connections, build its brand and develop short- and long-term plans. ACS offers facilitation, spokesperson, communication, and advocacy trainings. Through group trainings and workshops, ACS is able to give staff the knowledge and expertise they need to be successful in their roles. ACS works with staff to review and improve internal processes so that work is done more effectively and efficiently. ACS also helps organizations recognize when new positions may be needed and define qualifications for the right candidate.

One-On-One Coaching

Need one-on-one help with advocacy or communication skills, planning or leadership? ACS will be happy to provide in-person or telephone expertise as often as needed.

Customized Tools and Research

ACS combines its years of knowledge and expertise in its key issue areas with its staff’s superior research skills to create customized research about best practices, local or regional landscapes, stakeholder opinions and perceptions, and more to help inform its clients work and hone clients understanding. ACS also uses its knowledge of communication and advocacy to help create customized tools and tutorials for organizations that need to educate large or widespread staff or stakeholder groups efficiently and effectively.