What MPs say are best ways to lobby
From a blog by nfpSynergy
Charities and the voluntary sector face the constant challenge of how to best use funds to get their message heard by politicians. Charity lobbying methods are wide-ranging; from building relationships with a handful of key MPs, to increasing the profile of an issue through an awareness raising campaign, to investing in methods that encourage supporters to campaign on their behalf.
So which approach is going to be best for your public affairs, policy and campaigning work?
Many MPs think that a finely targeted approach to lobbying is best.
Recently nfpSynergy asked MPs to imagine that they worked for a charity with a few thousand pounds to spend on lobbying MPs. They asked them to decide what they would spend that money on, allowing them to select up to three options from a prompted list.
The most popular choice of lobbying method was ‘building a relationship with 10 MPs’, selected by 53% of the 157 MPs in the sample. This was also highest when they last asked the question in 2008.
‘Building a relationship with a Select Committee and/or APPG’ was the next most popular charity lobbying method among MPs, mentioned by half of MPs. The popularity of these top two choices, which both involve engaging a relatively small proportion of Parliament, suggests that a substantial proportion of MPs would include a targeted approach in their strategy if they worked for a charity.
However, many organisations need to raise broader awareness of what they do among politicians. The benefits of being a charity on a politician’s radar are numerous:
When politicians are in need of policy advice or briefings before a debate, they will turn to those organisations that they understand to be a credible and relevant source of information on the topic. However, they can only be reactive to your cause in these ways if they have at least a baseline awareness of who your charity is and what you specifically work on. nfpSynergy research has shown that this is particularly important following an election, where there is increased confusion among the new intake of politicians over which charities work on different issues.
Politicians can also play an important role in signposting potential beneficiaries to your charity’s services, as part of their constituency surgeries. Have you a toolkit they can hand out?
Over the years MPs have told nfpSynergy that charity campaigns really stand out from the crowd when their messages are tailored and relevant to them. One great way to do so is by using constituency statistics. Is there a handout you can give to MPs that summarises how many people in their constituency are affected by an issue or how many incidences of a problem have occured in their constituency compare to the UK average?
Politicians are increasingly put off by identical emails from constituents that do not feel authentic or tailored. How can you equip your supporters to personalise and tailor their communication with their political representatives?
Read more about the research here.
Of course, we can also bless our MPs and ask how can we pray for them as they serve their constituencies.. See an example of this in this blog; Paranaque City transformation and also City transformation - Liverpool.
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