NGO Lobbying Campaigns and Solving...آ  Focus’Focus’Focus’!!! • Deciding!where!to!focus!is!the!hardestpartof!

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  • NGO  Lobbying:  How  to  Win    

    Jason Sabo - Frontera Strategy Austin, Texas USA

  • Twi$er  for  Today    

    @texassabo   #NGOLobbyRO  

  • A2ernoon  Schedule   •  How  to  Win:    5  Steps  for  NGO  Lobbying  


    •  How  to  Win:    Media  and  Messaging   •  How  to  Win  (Again):    Advocacy  EvaluaKon  




    You  are  at  the  table  OR     you  are  on  the  menu.  

      It  is  easy  to  be  bold   when  you  are  right.  


  • If  you  can  park  a  car  in   Bucharest,  you  can  lobby.  

  • Advocacy  or  Lobbying?   •  Advocacy  is  a  broad  and  general  posiKon  that   is  promoted  to  legislators,  bureaucrats,   media,  and  the  public.    “Poverty  is  bad.”  

    •  Lobbying  begins  when  advocacy  becomes  very   specific  to  a  proposal  or  piece  of  legislaKon.     “Poverty  is  bad.    Please  support  this  specific   proposal  to  fight  its  negaHve  impact.”  

    •  NGO’s  now  know:    Advocacy  is  not  enough.  

  • Isn’t  lobbying  dirty?   •  Yes,  but  YOU  don’t  have  to  be  dirty.   •  Every  industry  in  every  country  on  every   conKnent  engages  in  lobbying.    Do  you?  

    •  NGO’s  o2en  voluntarily  exclude  themselves  from   the  poliKcal  process  OR  are  excluded  by   insKtuKons  of  power.  

    •  We  have  a  RESPONSIBILITY  to  the  families  we   serve,  to  the  planet,  to  the  future  to  engage  the   poliKcal  order  BETTER  than  every  other  industrial   sector.    We  have  so  much  more  to  lose.      

    •  BUT  if  you  play  the  game,  you  MUST  play  to  win.      

  • How  to  Win:       5  Rules  for  NGO  Lobbying  

    1.   Focus  on  1  or  2  issues.   2.  Have  poliKcally  powerful  data.   3.  Recruit  unexpected  messengers.   4.  Understand  the  poliHcal  process  and  

    be  relevant  but  principled.   5.  Prepare  for  implementaHon.      


    Focus  Focus  Focus        

    •  Deciding  where  to  focus  is  the  hardest  part  of   your  advocacy.    You  MUST  prioriKze.  

    •  If  you  try  to  be  everything  to  everyone  and  to   accomplish  unrealisKc  goals,  you  will  get  nothing   done  and  make  future  lobbying  more  difficult.  

    •  “Focus”  does  NOT  mean  small.    “Focus”  means   strategic  and  targeted  –  even  for  big  issues.    

    •  Rule  of  Lobbying:    Pick  one  or  two  prioriKes  and   focus  all  energy  there.  

    •  Example:    Human  Trafficking  LegislaKon  in  2009,   2011,  and  2013  


    Have  meaningful  data.      •  You  MUST  have  the  ability  to  show  the  

    effecKveness  of  your  proposals.   •  What  is  the  Return  on  Investment  (ROI)  that  your   organizaKon  or  issue  provides?  Can  you  prove  it   to  a  banker  or  other  investor?  

    •  Rule  of  Lobbying:    Have  good  data  from  sources   that  are  considered  credible  and  non-­‐tradiKonal.  

    •  Example:    Partnership  with  austerity-­‐minded  and   poliKcally  conservaKve  university  to  conduct  an   economic  analysis  of  impact  of  students  leaving   school  before  graduaKon.    

  • Find  Unusual  Messengers   •  The  people  in  this  room  are  the  WORST  people  to  deliver  

    your  message  to  legislators  and  policymakers.  Paid  staff   will  always  be  suspected  of  simple  self-­‐interest.  

    •  You  want  legislators  to  ask  themselves:    “Why  in  the  world   does  HE  (or  SHE)  care  about  this  issue?    They  won’t  make   any  money  and  it  won’t  help  them  directly?  It  MUST   maier  to  ordinary  Romanians.”  

    •  Rule  of  Lobbying:    Find  and  aggressively  recruit  unusual   people  and  voices  to  support  your  proposals.  

    •  Example:    “Do  you  love  freedom  or  hate  children?”  

  • Use  the  PoliHcal  Process   •  PoliKcs  is  about  presence.    If  you  are  present,  you   can  be  heard.    If  you  are  absent,  you  have   provided  the  excuse  to  ignore  you.  

    •  Advocates  must  understand  that  the  poliKcal   process  is  24/7  for  365  days  per  year.    EVERY  day   is  the  right  day  to  engage  legislators  and  officials.  

    •  Rule  of  Lobbying:    NEVER  miss  a  chance  to  make   your  case  in  an  official  senng  and  use  process.    

    •  Example:    Out-­‐of-­‐School-­‐Time  Learning  Council  

  • Follow  Up  aVer  You  Win   •  Passing  legislaKon  is  only  the  first  step,  actually   making  it  do  something  is  much  harder.  

    •  Most  advocates  stop  their  work  on  the  last  day  of   the  legislature.    Assume  victory  will  occur.  

    •  Regardless  of  what  your  proposal  does,  cash-­‐ strapped  bureaucracies  will  have  liile  Kme  or   personnel  to  implement  your  glorious  idea.  

    •  Rule  of  Lobbying:    If  your  goal  is  social  change,   legislaKon  is  just  the  beginning.  Plan  accordingly.    

    •  Example:    MeningiKs  legislaKon  implementaKon.  

  • Applying  the  Five  Steps   •  Focus:    What  is  most  criKcal?    What  is  most  topical?     Where  is  there  already  the  most  agreement?  

    •  Data:    What  compelling  data  exists  already?    Who  are   the  new  voices  that  we  can  add  to  our  work?  

    •  Messengers:    Who  has  nothing  to  gain  (or  lose)  by   helping  your  organizaKon  promote  its  prioriKes?    Who   will  help  spread  the  word?  

    •  Legislature:    Where  can  you  have  the  biggest  impact   fast?    Who  has  the  best  relaKonships  with  members?  

    •  ImplementaHon:    Which  bureaucrats  do  we  need  to   befriend?    What  are  the  government’s  goals  related  to   our  issue  and  how  can  we  support  their  success?  

  • BREAK  

  • CraVing  the  “Message”      

    It’s  not  what  you  want  to  say.     It’s  what  they  need  to  hear.  


  • Message  Discipline     •  The  dog  is  green.   •  Who  are  the  targets  of  your  message?    Every   audience  may  need  a  message  of  its  own.  

    •  The  dog  is  green.   •  What  poliKcal  conversaKons  are  already   happening?    Maximize  opportuniKes  to  put  your   work  into  the  context  of  exisKng  conversaKons.  

    •  The  dog  is  green.   •  What  are  your  tools  for  promoKng  your  message?   •  The  dog  is  green.  

  • Message  Discipline  Example    

    What  color  is  the  dog?