Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lobbying Pro Shares Advice on Wooing Washington

Getting and keeping the attention of Washington, D.C., decision-makers is a perennial challenge for business lobbies, special interest groups and nonprofit causes, especially as election year distractions increase. Here's some timely advice courtesy of a recent Direct Marketing News magazine article by Senior Editor Al Urbanski, who sought out longtime lobbyist Alex Vogel, former chief counsel to past Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the current head of political analytics firm VogelHood Research. Vogel laid out some handy rules for winning Capital influence: 1) first know the "ask," the specifics of what you want from political power brokers, right down to the title of a bill and its underlying issues; 2) then know the elected officials you want to court and interface with them early and often via e-mails, phone calls, donations, town hall participation, etc., all the way to campaigning help; 3) don't snub the 22-year-old assistant along the way, advises Vogel, because "that's the person who makes the decision on your issue" in a city run by underpaid assistants who investigate and vet issues and sit by the politician's side in the committee hearing to provide advice; 4) build coalitions with those who are also affected by an issue or legislation to maximize clout; 5) let the national representative or senator take credit in the local community if things go your way, because what elected official doesn't love a photo op with constituents smiling about jobs/health/renewal/community, etc.; 6) don't be shy about sharing your political views along with donations or campaign support because business and politics, and charity and politics, definitely do mix at election time; 7) have an ongoing dialog with Washington decision-makers and influencers because, as Vogel counsels, "If you just think to call when you need something, it's too late." For the complete article, read http://www.dmnews.com/how-to-get-your-way-in-washington/article/408390/

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