How to Hire a Lobbyist
When hiring a lobbyist, you want to make sure that you chose someone who is a good fit for you. You may not want to hire a lobbyist who specializes in lobbying for big pharmaceutical companies when you’re looking for someone to lobby for education.
When hiring a lobbyist, it is imperative that you do your research. You want to look at their website to see who their clients are, what their areas of expertise are, and read customer testimonials.
Before you choose a lobbyist, set up a time to meet with the lobbyist to discuss the issues that you need assistance with. It will be important to come to the meeting prepared to share what the specific issue is that you are dealing with. Then discuss the potential solutions you’ve thought of. The lobbyist can then brainstorm with you about additional options.
Working together you can create a strategic plan for how to deal with the issue and determine a cost estimate for the services. Research all the areas with which a lobbyist can help you.
Finding the Right Lobbyist for Your Organization
A key thing to look for when hiring a lobbyist is a person who sincerely listens and tries to find common ground. You need someone who will help the group you’re working with feel understood and heard. If you want to advocate change, it isn’t going to happen merely by telling the group what you want to have changed. Nobody wants someone else telling them what to do or what to change.
Instead, you need someone who will approach the problem by truly understanding the concerns that the group has. You need to understand why they aren’t in favor of making changes. By finding out what is holding them back, you can then help find a way to address that concern while still advocating for change.
Pricing and Cost Benefit
When hiring a lobbyist, it is important to keep in mind pricing. You want to select a lobbyist that has a clear price structure. It is a little frightening to go into a contract with a lobbyist when you don’t know what they will be charging you. You will want to ask for estimates upfront and ask for their rates.
You need to make sure that you are selecting a lobbyist that fits your budget. Keep in mind the financial impact the changes could have. You may be able to negotiate things like a reduced tax rate or another law that will represent significant cost savings for your organization. Other examples could be lobbying for your business to be able to practice in a specific area or to change the zoning for a project. All of these types of changes could represent substantial revenue.
You will want to look at their services and areas of expertise. Potential services could include:
Assistance with building public awareness and mobilizing people to support a cause. Often just having a person speak with legislators won’t be enough to create change. Sometimes you will need to create campaigns to get the public invested in your cause. That will mean educating the public and building awareness of the cause.
You will need to create impactful messaging that will grab people’s attention and move them to action. Then you will need to create an online presence for your cause with a website and social media. You will also want to have the public making phone calls, sending emails, and attending meetings to express their feelings. A lobbyist can assist with organizing and managing a grassroots campaign.
It is important to keep the pulse of the legislation. That means you will want a lobbyist that will be attending the sessions and keeping track of what things are coming through. They can get informed of a topic that relates to your organization and then help you give input on the issue. A lobbyist will be able to stay informed about current discussions so that they can let you know if laws or policies that could impact your organization are coming through the pipeline.
Messaging is critical when you are lobbying. You want to make sure that your message is impactful and memorable. Crafting an impactful message takes skill and patience. A lobbyist can work with you to ensure that you have created a concise, meaningful message that will resonate with your audience.
Grants & Contracts
Funding is critical to your organization’s success and ultimately your viability. A lobbyist can help you with grant applications and respond to RFPs to receive government contracts and grants. By working closely with you, they can help you ensure that you are crafting a proposal that meets the specifications of the government entity that has been sent out in the RFP.
There are many benefits to hiring a lobbyist. Hiring a lobbyist can have a significant impact on your organization.
However, it can be intimidating to figure out how to hire a lobbyist, and more importantly, who to hire. By looking carefully at your organization, you can determine what specific goals will have the biggest impact. Then you can meet with prospective lobbyists to determine if they are the right fit for your organization.
Choosing the Lockhart Group
The Lockhart Group is a lobbying firm with extensive experience in Utah. Stan has served on the Utah Board of Education and worked closely with educational institutions including charter schools and school districts. He has also worked with tech companies such as Micron. He helped negotiate two of the largest tax incentives in state history. Stan views lobbying as solving people’s problems with the government. He will work with you to determine the root of the issue you are dealing with and then help find a solution. Stan views solving problems as an opportunity to help both groups. He will work to understand the concerns of the organizations that you are struggling with. Then he will find common ground to negotiate.
The Lockhart Group is Utah’s Lobbying Experts and can provide customized, strategic guidance to help you as you find solutions to issues. Contact us now.