37. Top Tips for Lobbying
Description and Purpose:
Consider the following ‘top tips for lobbyists’, and try to incorporate any approaches that are suitable for your national situation.
Top Tips for Lobbyists
Planning and Preparing
- Make a lobbying plan: WHAT is the case, WHO makes the decisions, WHEN do we deal with our targets, HOW do we deal with them, WHY is every action necessary?
- The objective must be realistic. Ask yourself: can we make this a ‘yes-able’ proposition?
- Always think: why should you want to know me, deal with this, read this? Put yourself in their shoes.
- Do less but do it better. Most lobbying is done to too many people in not enough depth.
- Good research is the base of your lobbying: source every statement or fact, anticipate the arguments against you and deal with them there and then.
- Some basic parliamentary monitoring is useful but high quality intelligence is more important (i.e. actively obtaining views on policy formulation, feedback on representations, attitudes towards your organization or issue).
- Make sure there is a point to every contact. The system only has so much patience.
- Assess the right level of seniority of official to build a relationship with.
- If necessary, use directories or consultants to help identify officials with interests similar to yours.
- In 90% of UK and 70% of EU cases Parliament changes nothing. You must agree your case with officials and Ministers first. Only a few cases are genuinely political.
Winning and Losing
- Never crow about your victories.
- Do not surprise the system. Brief officials before you meet Ministers, brief front bench researchers before meeting opposition spokesmen and advise officials before any announcement relevant to them.
- Never get NO on the record – it is better to withdraw and fight again.
- It’s never won until its won, there are many case when issues changed at the last minute.
Source: Adapted from Politico (pp312-316)