Benefits to Using a Lobbyist

Washington LobbyistMany different types of organizations can benefit from using a lobbyist to get their voice heard in government. From Non-Profit Organizations and Associations to large and small for-profit businesses, lobbyists can take your message to Congress and even local and state governments. Lobbyists enable organizations to draft legislation, develop strategies for new regulations, connect and stay informed, and proactively reach out to elected officials prior to new policies being drafted.

NON-PROFIT LOBBYING

Non-profit organizations have avoided the use of lobbyists in the past. They either don’t understand how to do it or don’t have the proper resources to lobby effectively. But government officials need to know, understand and take into consideration the needs of these organizations and the members they represent. There are a limited number of projects and issues that can be funded or legislated and non-profit organizations need be able to compete to be heard above the noise. Pat Libby, heads a graduate program in nonprofit leadership at the University of San Diego, and believes that lobbying government officials is so important for charities that she teaches a course called “Advocacy Skills and Strategies“.1 Recently some of her students lobbied and introduced a bill to help protect developmentally disabled people by creating a registry of abusive caregivers, which employers could use when making hiring decisions.

ASSOCIATION ADVOCACY

A professional association is an industry group who voluntarily combine to accomplish a purpose or task. Where an individual or single business may not have the ability to have their needs heard in government, an association of like minded professionals band their resources together to protect and support their members. There are likely millions of associations in the U.S. These associations range from fruit pickers to the American Medical Association. Each of the organizations can benefit from a lobbyist assisting them in strategy, communication, contacts and influence, from tax incentives to regulations.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Small businesses (less than 500 employees) make up more than 50% of our U.S. private workforce. Attracting these businesses involves tax incentives, infrastructure, roads, technical support, housing, training and low interest lines of credit. A good lobbyist can assist a community into developing a regional business strategy to not only protect their community from damaging legislation, but to attract industries and inspire business innovators.

County government and small towns need assistance in growing and protecting their constituents. For example, there are federal infrastructure development programs available to help rural communities grow. For example, recently Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced funding for telemedicine and health care projects to benefit rural communities lacking adequate resources((http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2011/11/0491.xml)). Another recent bill provides funding for broadband development in 15 states and rual communities2. “This type of federal funding will provide residents of these rural communities with high speed internet connections to improve healthcare and educational opportunities and connect them to global markets,” Vilsack said. “In addition to providing much needed services to rural businesses and residents, these investments will increase jobs, not just in the near term, but through expanded opportunities in rural areas.”

Other examples of rural development benefits include

  • NC’s Rural Economic Development Center ((http://www.ncruralcenter.org/)) awarded 9.6 million in grants which will create over 1200 jobs in 51 counties;
  • HUD’s Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI)3 , a competitive grant program designed to assist cities with the redevelopment of abandoned, idled and underused industrial and commercial facilities;
  • USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program ((http://www.raconline.org/funding/funding_details.php?funding_id=1822)) – loans and grants to promote rural economic development and job creation projects which include business startup costs, business expansion, business incubators, technical assistance feasibility studies, advanced telecommunications services and computer networks for medical, educational, and job training services and community facilities projects for economic development.

These are just a few of the thousands of opportunities a good lobbyist experienced in rural development can assist you with.

Cansler Consulting is an experienced lobbying firm in budgeting, agriculture, rural healthcare, and energy policies and through our Congressional relationships we can help you influence the policy makers on Capitol Hill. You can contact us at info@canslerconsulting.com or at (202) 220-3150.

Tim Cansler
  1. http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070305/news_1m5lobby.html []
  2. http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2011/11/0485.xml&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent []
  3. http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/comm_planning/BEDI []
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