Lobby for Your Cause
Nonprofits are known for being passionate about advocating for their causes to elicit change or find specific solutions to problems that will impact the communities they serve. Many do so by educating the public, sharing research data, offering training, speaking up for marginalized communities, and the list goes on. By making their message and their voices heard, they can affect their lives and the lives of others on a local, state, national, and global level.
There are many ways that nonprofits can advocate to improve programs and services for their cause, and lobbying is one of them.
Lobbying is a form of advocacy that can help organizations achieve their mission goals by focusing specifically on influencing legislation. The term “lobbying” referred to the efforts people would make to try and influence legislators in the lobby of the legislative chamber right before a vote. Nowadays, individuals or private interest groups will try to influence the voting decisions of government officials, at the local, state, or federal levels, by lobbying in different ways. Some examples include:
- Requesting an elected official to support, vote against, amend a bill, or introduce legislation through oral or written communication.
- Asking legislative staff members to meet or send messages to an elected official asking them to support a specific bill or other pieces of legislation.
- Encouraging members to contact their legislators to show support for or against an introduced piece of legislation.
- Participating in meetings and discussions with government representatives at every level of government, including federal, state, county, municipal, and local governments.
- Influencing legislation by negotiating the details of a bill.
- Preparing materials or organizing events in support of lobbying activities.
Sometimes, lobbying gets a bad rap. When the average American thinks of lobbying, they likely think of corrupt politicians accepting dark money from a suspicious man in a suit. This couldn’t be more different from the truth. Lobbying is not a form of bribery and is legally protected. There are no licensing or certification requirements to be a lobbyist, but a lobbyist hired to represent an organization must register with the federal government. There were 12,137 registered active lobbyists in the United States in 2021.
An organization does not have to register “until it spends more than $12,500 on lobbying activities in any calendar quarter. And registration is not required if the organization only retains an outside lobbying firm, regardless of how much the firm is paid”. Organizations that receive federal grants must pay for all Federal lobbying efforts with non-Federal funds.
If your organization is new to lobbying, understanding what lobbying is and the rules that apply can help you achieve your advocacy goals. Our team at The Woolf Group can help your organization achieve its goals and use its knowledge to create better laws for the advancement of all Americans. Here at TWG, your passion is our passion, and we have a proven track record of success at all levels of advocacy.
If your organization wants to propose legislation, show support for introduced legislation, make specific changes in the written law, or oppose or reject current legislation, now is the time to lobby for your cause and let your voice be heard.
Maggie Ruffini – VP The Woolf Group