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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).

Building Relations

  • 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)

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