Lobbying Tips

  • 1

    Be creative and memorable from start to finish

    Briefing materials, events and other activities that draw attention to your messages help lead to success.

  • 2

    Recognise Europe’s diversity

    Keep in mind the local, national and European dimensions of a policy issue and leverage the differences in attitudes between policy-makers in different countries.

  • 3

    Ensure that your message gets through online

    While digital sources are less influential than meetings and briefings, policy-makers do frequently look at the websites of companies, industry associations and NGOs – check that you are giving the right first impression.

  • 4

    Mobilise people to act

    Search for allies and work within coalitions whenever possible. Different policy-makers value the input of different groups of lobbyists, so working together in partnerships and even temporary coalitions can bear fruit.

  • 5

    Know the wide range of people that you need to talk to

    But target the right decision-makers at the right time: Policy-makers are more likely to meet you if the topic is in their field of expertise or is of interest to them.

  • 6

    Identify your ultimate audience

    And clearly set realistic objectives at the beginning of your campaign. Be prepared to adapt your strategy in response to both external and internal changes.

  • 7

    Be transparent

    Policy-makers see a lack of transparency as a poor lobbying practice and for one in two respondents to the survey transparency was a factor in deciding whether to speak to a lobbyist.

  • 8

    Be aware

    that your audience is not only ‘in the room’: Policy-makers are increasingly reporting to their colleagues and the public on who they meet and on what issue – so act transparently.

  • 9

    Get your timing right

    Get in early – but not too early – and follow the issue through all stages of policy development. Entering the debate too late is considered by many policy- makers to be poor practice.

  • 10

    Understand the legislative process

    Avoid a common criticism of both ‘corporate’ and NGO lobbyists by knowing what a decision-maker is able to do, when, and according to what procedure.

  • 11

    Think politically

    Identify the focus of political argument, the values and interests involved and the potential basis for consensus. You will not always get 100% of what you want, but the compromise-builders are often successful.

  • 12

    Back up political arguments with evidence

    Independent reports and science help to convince policy-makers – those surveyed criticised lobbying based on emotion rather than facts.