The definition and legal guidelines for the act of lobbying vary by state. However, lobbyists are active at all levels of government – local, state and federal. A lobbyist is hired by a company or entity to represent its interests by influencing politicians and political bodies to support or reject legislation that impacts the business.
A key administrative responsibility for a lobbyist is to file registration with your local or state government. Requirements vary, but you generally include your name, employer and other basic information about who you represent in your lobbying role. This ensures that public officials and office representatives know your interests when entering a government building or seeking a meeting with a politician or official.
Direct lobbying involves actual meetings with politicians and officials for the purpose of persuading them on a particular issue. The ability to build rapport with officials, arrange meetings and persuade them to act on your company's behalf is a central responsibility for an effective lobbyist. If your company opposes a new business tax, for instance, your role would be to use resources and sell leaders on the benefits to the community of having lower business taxes.
Lobbyists sometimes spend some or much of their time in indirect lobbying, working the grassroots levels more to get your message through. Calling citizens, placing ads and sending out mailers are tools for indirect lobby. The idea is to develop mass interest in a cause and put pressure on officials. Lobbyists may encourage people affected by an issue to call and mail their representatives. They may also combine forces with other lobbyists sharing the same interests.
Research and Communication
To succeed as a lobbyist, you need to be in the know on the issues important to your company and the community. Direct and secondary research is needed to support your claims and motives when meeting with politicians. You also need to communicate with your employer to understand their viewpoints and to strategize on the key issues to address and the methods to best address them.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.