Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How will the Cal Capitol Academy help me to make the world a better place?
A. Most people would like to bring about positive change but few possess the skills, knowledge and organizational capacity to do so. And while ours is the most democratic society in the world, it does not come with an owner’s manual. We must learn about it and practice engagement in it, less we risk losing it. That is why the Cal Capitol Academy and its talented staff offer a variety of workshops, lectures, panel discussions, webinars and multi-media presentations to bring you and your organization from inaction or ineffective action to strategic engagement with the people and processes by which our democracy stays vital.
Q. Why should my company be interested in political leadership?
A. Whether you are a start-up or well established company, government policies, lawmakers and regulators play a key role in your success or failure. Even if you don’t yet know this, your competitors do. What you don’t know can hurt you. The first goal of the Cal Capitol Academy is to make you and your company leaders to that which you didn’t know existed, before it affects you, your investors and shareholders.
Q. Why should a non-profit association or a trade organization be interested in what happens in government?
A. Non-profits are every bit as competitive as corporations. If you are not advancing your mission as aggressively as a competing organization, it is only a matter of time until your dominance wanes. Even though 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations cannot lobby, their members expect them to be knowledgeable about policy affecting them.
Q. What will I learn from the Cal Capitol Academy?
A. The purpose of the Cal Capitol Academy’s offerings is to enable you and your organization to engage in the democratic system of government, beyond just voting come election time. You will learn why your unique perspective on what’s wrong (or right) with a proposed law or regulation not only can be valuable to the political debate over a policy; if we are to make fair and good policies, it must be.
Q. My organization operates in multiple states. Will the Cal Capitol Academy be relevant outside of California?
A. Yes, our faculty has experience in a variety of venues and levels of government. Whether it is state, multi-state, county or federal — the Cal Capitol Academy can tailor our expertise to meet your needs.
Q. Can’t I just hire a lobbying firm to do my policy work?
A. If it’s legal (you are not restricted from doing so as a public tax-exempt organization ) and you can afford it, then you probably should. However, even if you already employ a lobbyist or retain a contract lobbying firm, you will still need to know and understand how policies are made and how you, your staff and customers can engage in the process. Keep in mind, while lobbyists are important guides with which to navigate the complicated world of policy-making, most policymakers would much rather hear from citizen advocates, business owners, consumers and leaders of organizations than from paid lobbyists. Our trainings will help you to more effectively support the work of your advocate by 1) improving your meeting and testimony skills, 2) offering you a better understanding of the system in which your lobbyist operates (and of how difficult and complex the work of your lobbyist is), 3) developing your organizations ability to use online tools to track, monitor and mobilize an organizational response to emerging threats and opportunities.