Breaking through in the crowded public affairs advocacy landscape can be a challenge for any organization. Clearly defined goals, a thoroughly planned and seamlessly executed PR operation and a coordinated, long-term thought leadership strategy are all critical tools for establishing and maintaining a meaningful Washington presence. If successfully deployed, special events and annual meetings can also be integral to advancing organizational goals.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a Rational 360 client, recently hosted its fourth annual “Fiscal Summit,” which the Foundation has successfully established as one of the preeminent economic events in Washington, DC.

Committed to reestablishing responsible fiscal policy in the nation’s capital, the Peterson Foundation has carefully positioned itself as a thought leader and bipartisan resource on fiscal responsibility, and has never wavered from this clearly defined organizational mission.

At the 2013 Fiscal Summit, the Peterson Foundation again convened bipartisan leaders to find new solutions to the nation’s long-term debt. Participants included global leaders such as former President Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, and elected officials including Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rob Portman (R-OH), Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Xavier Becerra (D-CA) and Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD). 

The Foundation also explored the roles of health care, education and technology in deficit reduction, and convened panels featuring thought leaders such as Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Co-founder of Synthetic Genomics Inc.  Juan Enriquez, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Senior Policy Advisor Susan Dentzer. The Foundation partnered with MSNBC to have Andrea Mitchell, Chuck Todd and Tamron Hall moderate Summit panels at the Mellon Auditorium. 

The Peterson Foundation generated substantial traditional media coverage in both print and television, and also leveraged social media around the event to help drive its core deficit reduction messages. By using the “#FiscalSummit” hashtag for the event and encouraging speakers, reporters and Summit attendees to Tweet using the hashtag, the Foundation was able to broadcast the event to a global audience. Former President Clinton, who had recently joined Twitter, engaged in a public discussion with fellow participant Bill Gates and tweeted: “.@BillGates and I agree: We need to bring down debt and invest in the future. #FiscalSummit” The former president’s message was retweeted over six hundred times and helped make the #FiscalSummit hashtag a Twitter trend in Washington.

The Peterson Foundation has consistently promoted fiscal discipline, governmental accountability and balanced legislating, as it has worked with both parties to find solutions to the nation’s long-term debt. The Foundation’s message discipline has matched its mission discipline, and the organization has successfully turned its annual Fiscal Summit into an integral part of the ongoing U.S. economic debate.

--Addison