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LOBBYING BY NONPROFITS: THE HOW TOS

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Lobbying is a form of public policy advocacy and educating government. ... Be certain audio systems are flawless. Keep it short; time for questions ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: LOBBYING BY NONPROFITS: THE HOW TOS


1
LOBBYING BY NONPROFITS THE HOW TOS
2
What is Lobbying?
  • Lobbying is a form of public policy advocacy and
    educating government.
  • Lobbying is communicating with legislators and
    the executive branch to encourage them to take
    action on specific legislation and in some states
    regulations.
  • Lobbying is part of participating in the
    democratic process.

3
What is lobbying continued…
  • Lobbying can involve government, the media,
    people nonprofits serve and even the entire
    community.
  • Lobbying can be an effective strategy for
    offering new ideas to government, holding
    government accountable and securing better public
    policies that affect nonprofits missions.

4
A little knowledge about the following will get
you started lobbying
  • The legislative process
  • Setting up a legislative network
  • Use of a government relations committee
  • The role of media in lobbying
  • The law governing lobbying by nonprofits

5
The nonprofit lobbyists skills
  • To start, the nonprofit lobbyist needs to know
  • A few basics about the legislative process
  • The main arguments for and against your bill
  • How to communicate effectively with your
    organizations members, the public and the media.

6
The federal legislative process
  • The legislative process is controlled by people,
    not institutions.
  • Legislation usually moves from
  • subcommittee to
  • full-committee to
  • floor vote (in both chambers of a legislature) to
  • conference between the chambers.
  • At each step its possible to influence outcome.

7
The legislative process (cont)
  • All members of the legislature are not equal.
  • Majority party members have more power.
  • Senior members are usually more influential.
  • Senior legislative staff often wield enormous
    power.

8
Your leader in the legislature
  • It is important to secure the support of a Member
    of the legislature, preferably in the Committee
    making decisions about the bill.
  • It is important for this Member to become the
    Champion.
  • Almost equally important is the skill and
    commitment of the legislative staff.

9
Lobbying the Administration
  • Sometimes persons within the Executive Branch
    hold power over the prospects for legislation.
  • It is important to know who are potential allies
    and who are potential opponents.
  • Developing strong relations with executive branch
    employees can be important. Legislators may come
    and go but often career executive branch
    employees have invaluable institutional knowledge
    and credibility for a given issue.

10
Effective written lobbying communications are
  • Accurate
  • Brief
  • Clear
  • Timely
  • Followed up with a telephone call

11
Current communication technologies for mobilizing
grassroots support
  • E-mail
  • Web sites
  • Faxes
  • Telephone Routing Systems
  • Zip Code Matching (targeting grassroots in a
    certain geographic area)

12
Effective communication methods with
Congressional offices
  • Spontaneous letters from constituents
  • Visits from constituents
  • Articles in state/district newspapers
  • Telephone calls from community and issue opinion
    leaders
  • Telephone calls from constituents

13
Your letter to your legislator
  • Use personal or business letterhead.
  • One page -- your own words.
  • Ask legislator to reply - ask directly whether
    he/she supports.
  • Dont use threatening tone.
  • Dont overstate influence.
  • Be certain letter arrives before the vote.
  • Say thank you.

14
Meeting with your legislator
  • Nervous? You know more about the subject.
  • An advance appointment is important.
  • A small group (2-3) is fine.
  • Discuss the issue from your legislators
    perspective.

15
Meeting with your legislator (cont)
  • Cant answer a question? Dont bluff. Gather
    information and get back.
  • Leave fact sheet.
  • Write -- say thanks -- remind legislator of
    agreements reached.

16
Presenting Testimony
  • Keep statement brief -- include
    a one page summary.
  • First choice for presenter -- volunteer senior
    staff second choice.
  • Get other groups to sign your testimony.
  • Plant questions with supportive members of the
    Committee holding the hearing.

17
Presenting Testimony (cont)
  • Dont read the testimony.
  • Okay to be direct in response to hostile
    question, but always be courteous.
  • Dont have the answer? Say so - get information.

18
Telephoning
  • Telephone call to Washington office can be very
    persuasive.
  • Keep it brief.
  • Cant get through, ask for aide.
  • Cant reach aide, leave message with the
    receptionist.
  • Calls to the legislators district office is
    second-best, but better than nothing!

19
E-mail and faxes to Congressional offices
  • 90 of Congressional offices use e-mail.
  • E-mail from outside the Congressional district
    not relevant.
  • Faxes and e-mail are acceptable but well written,
    personal postal letters continue to rank highest.

20
Other ways to communicate
  • Invite legislator to --
  • Visit your facility
  • Speak at a meeting sponsored by your group
  • Meet with your board
  • Attend breakfast meeting at state capital
  • (Note See CLPI tutorial, Charitable Nonprofits
    and Election-Related Activities for important
    limitations on the above activities during
    election campaigns)

21
Grassroots Action through a Legislative Network
  • All politics is local former Speaker Thomas
    Tip ONeill.
  • Legislative networks are an organized, systematic
    means of communicating with local volunteers who
    have agreed to contact legislators.
  • Legislative networks dont have to be elaborate.

22
Legislative Networks (cont)
  • Volunteers are ultimately more
    influential than paid staff.
  • To set up a network
  • Get list of legislators
  • Recruit volunteers
  • Develop means of communicating quickly
  • Work at it. Networks are absolutely essential --
    but atrophy quickly.

23
Lobbying in Coalition
  • The enactment of major legislation often takes
    the effort of a coalition of people and
    organizations focusing the resources of many
    groups with interest in the same issue.
  • Coalitions are always fragile, but have potential
    for enormous influence.
  • Coalition leaderships job is to build trust,
    openness and honesty. No surprises is paramount.

24
Lobbying in Coalition (cont)
  • Every coalition must have a clearinghouse to
    get quick information to members.
  • Coalition membership may change markedly over
    time.
  • Getting coalition information out can take time,
    plan ahead of time how to get the information
    out.
  • When a coalition effort is successful -- spread
    the glory!

25
Government Relations Committees
  • The role of government relations committee is to
    establish and pursue legislative priorities for
    the organization.
  • A big mistake of such committees is to take on
    more than one number one priority.
  • An organization can follow 20 issues, but all
    must be ranked.

26
Government Relations Committees (cont)
  • A committee member may push staff to emphasize
    his/her pet priorities. Dont give in!
  • Delegate authority to small group to make
    pressure decisions on legislation when time
    doesnt permit convening your larger group.
  • Subgroups will help.

27
Government Relations Committees (cont)
  • Meetings tips
  • Agendas
  • Cordial tone
  • Physical arrangements
  • Dont let anyone dominate
  • Use of name tent cards

28
Role of Media in Lobbying
  • Legislators note organizations that media quote.
  • Congressional staff rank news articles and
    editorials in daily newspapers very high.
  • A person with experience in media relations (a
    volunteer is fine) is invaluable.

29
Role of Media in Lobbying (cont)
  • Several points to keep in mind
  • Send only news worthy information
  • Recognize the herd instinct
  • Off the cuff quotes should be well-rehearsed
  • Keep list of journalists who have contacted you
    or have done a story on your issue.

30
Role of Media in Lobbying (cont)
  • An effective press release
  • Include the most important information in first
    paragraph
  • Put the rest of information in descending order
    of importance
  • First page should answer five ws -- who, what,
    when, where and why.

31
Role of Media in Lobbying (cont)
  • Press conferences
  • In most major metropolitan areas, its difficult
    to get press conference attendance because of
    competition.
  • You will need to know
  • Hour, day press most likely to attend
  • Location that will attract reporters
  • How far in advance press must be notified
  • How best to notify.

32
Role of Media in Lobbying (cont)
  • Press Conferences (cont)
  • Give a reminder call on day of conference
  • Have a well-written press statement and
    background piece
  • Be certain audio systems are flawless
  • Keep it short time for questions
  • Keep a list of attendees for follow-up

33
Role of Media in Lobbying (cont)
  • Letters to the editor
  • Keep letters tightly composed
  • Use specific examples
  • One point per letter
  • Accurate, up-to-date information
  • Dont attack opposition
  • Always sign your name include address and
    telephone number.

34
Role of Media in Lobbying (cont)
  • Radio and Television
  • Radio and TV offer public service time.
  • Dont forget news directors of radio and
    television stations when circulating press
    releases.
  • Have a visual angle for TV news story.

35
Role of Media in Lobbying (cont)
  • Radio and Television (cont)
  • Keep public service television spots short -- 9
    to 10 seconds
  • Radio, 20 to 30 seconds
  • Get well-briefed spokesperson for your group on
    radio, television talk show
  • Give local radio, TV your ideas for editorial.

36
The Law Governing Lobbying By Nonprofits
  • See the CLPI tutorial, Lobbying, Advocacy, and
    the Law for important information on the law
    governing nonprofits ability to lobby.

37
Have additional questions regarding your lobbying
efforts?
  • Contact CLPI staff
  • at (202) 387-5048 or at centerforlobbying_at_clpi.org
    .
  • WWW.CLPI.ORG
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