In today’s exceptionally competitive society, there is a high demand for government relations professionals. Their advocacy can provide much-needed support for businesses, both big and small, on policies that may impact their operations. This is achieved through strategic lobbying efforts designed to promote specific interests in the best possible manner. However, people do not often realize there are two different types of lobbying: direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying. But what are the differences between these approaches to advocacy, and how can they benefit your organization?
As a top Arizona lobbying firm, we utilize both direct and grassroots lobbying strategies to obtain the results our clients require. Read our article below and learn which type of lobbying works best for your business!
What is Direct Lobbying?
This form of lobbying involves organizations directly relaying their position on issues to lawmakers and other government officials. Additionally, it involves an attempt to influence policies by further engaging with policymakers. The lobbyist will typically be somebody who is a part of the company affected by the policy, or an independent lobbying firm advocating on behalf of the company. Direct Lobbying is what most people picture when they think of lobbying.
To achieve the best results, direct lobbying involves:
- Verbal and written communications
- Electronic and social media communications
- Attending a meeting with policymakers
- Speaking on the phone with lawmakers
There are several critical tasks that lobbyists must complete in order to achieve their objectives. First, they must build a professional relationship and explain the issue at hand. Second, they must prove their expertise by providing quality data and further build credibility in favor of their issue. Lastly, they provide additional assistance to policymakers, oftentimes helping draft new legislation to ensure there are no loopholes.
What is Grassroots Lobbying?
Similar to direct lobbying, grassroots strategies attempt to influence laws passed by policymakers. However, this strategy differs from direct lobbying because it rallies the public around a specific policy issue. Instead of engaging with policymakers, they engage with the community to contact lawmakers and government officials to influence policies. This technique is especially prominent in non-profit organizations.
Moreover, to be considered grassroots lobbying, organizations cannot express their opinion on issues, and urge their members to contact policymakers. This is considered direct lobbying. Grassroots lobbying strategies adopt strong communication techniques to ensure their message resonates with the public. This may involve publishing open letters, creating an online petition, organizing a demonstration, or utilizing social media to bring awareness.
Another key difference is that grassroots lobbying must abide by spending restrictions enacted by the Public Charity Lobbying Law. The law was designed to protect non-profits from losing their non-profit status by allowing them to spend 5% of their revenue on lobbying. Organizations must elect to use the Public Charity Law to increase their lobbying spending from 5% to 20% for the first $500,000 of revenue. While 20% can be spent on grassroots lobbying at a time, 100% can go towards direct lobbying efforts.
Direct Lobbying and Grassroots Lobbying with Dorn Policy Group, Inc.
Founded over 20 years ago, Dorn Policy Group, Inc. was founded on the belief that integrity, tenacity, and client results should be the cornerstones of quality government relations. We go into every lobbying strategy with this mindset to ensure we obtain the results our clients require. That is why we utilize direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying strategies to paint our client’s needs in the best possible light. Contact Dorn Policy Group, Inc. today and learn how our team of government relations specialists can help your business stay on top of issues that matter to you.