As you plan your 2020 budget and consider the ROI for various vendors, do you find yourself contemplating the value of your lobbyist? Our team at Old Line Government Affairs has more than 75 combined years of experience working in partnership with clients to advance and protect interests of their business and industry. Here are a few ways to determine if your lobbyist is doing everything it should to successfully support your organization’s interaction with government.
Understanding Your Business
Successful government affairs representation is a two-way street. Your lobbyist absolutely should be experienced in their role as an advocate, however, they should also have an interest in and work hard to understand your business and industry, and the issues facing it. Lobbyists need to think strategically about how to best position your interests, but, first, they have to understand your mission. A good lobbyist meets regularly with your team but also attends industry events so they can learn more about your industry and its leaders. This can be helpful in suggesting coalitions and networking opportunities to enhance your position when promoting or preventing legislation. Your lobbyist should zealously promote your interests and refrain from representing others whose interest conflicts with your business.
Your lobbyist should do more than meet with you at the beginning and end of session, or simply schedule meetings for you. Lobbyists should be your trusted advisors and partners in your business, meeting with you regularly, and readily available to answer questions and consult on strategy. They should serve as an extension of your leadership or management team, tracking legislation and discussing it with you, providing regularly scheduled reports, and helping you understand the political landscape relative to your issue.
Influence and Access
Promoting and preventing legislation requires strong relationships with government leaders. Lobbyists who have previously served in the Maryland General Assembly or in the top levels of the Executive Branch have access and insight into the way government works and who needs to be involved. They have long-standing relationships built on trust and shared experiences in government matters. A good lobbyist should be able to advocate effectively with members of both political parties, and in both the legislative and executive branches.
Legislative affairs can and should be an important part of your business strategy; and a good lobbyist should be a trusted advisor and extension of your team, addressing issues to help your business grow.