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The Lobbyist


The lobbyist needs to:

  • Know the issue well
  • Know the political context (structures, processes and systems)
  • Have good interpersonal and communication skills

A lobbyist should also have the right attitude:

  • Unswerving belief in your cause
  • Loyalty to your organization or coalition/alliance
  • Optimism and perseverance
  • Always be a tough opponent – you will not be respected for giving in too readily!
  • Persuasive, not argumentative
  • Understand opponents’ views and position, but don’t be won over!
  • Never concede anything too early in negotiations

Lobbying is a combination of psychology and legal/political knowledge. You need to know the legislation and the policy context. But equally important is to know the people involved – both their positions and power bases, and their personal attributes.

Advocacy Tool

Tool 37. Top Tips for Lobbying
This tool contains advice on effective lobbying.

Lobbying Errors

Some corporate lobbyists have given lobbying a bad reputation. They take any opportunity to speak to the media, and get ‘profile’ even if they do not know the real facts. They like to spend time with major ‘figureheads’, and like to ‘wine and dine’. But often they do not know the policy issue in any depth.

There are three main errors in NGO lobbying:

  • 'Speak First, Think Later'
  • Knowing 'People in High Places'
  • 'Eating Your Way Out of Trouble
Charles Miller of Charles Miller Associates

We believe that effective lobbying for animal welfare NGOs is not about status and influence: it is about changing the ‘hearts and minds’ of policy makers – using information, communication, public pressure and engagement - to benefit animal welfare.

Charles Miller’s observation highlights the need for research – and this would include not only the issue in question, but also political structures, processes and systems.

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