Topic 4 Lobbying

Lobbying is a specialized form of advocacy. It is a strategic, planned and informal way of influencing decision-makers. Characteristics are: open (two-way) communication, influencing by linking the interests of different stakeholders, creating win-win situations and investing in long-term relationships with decision- makers. (Guidelines on Lobby and Advocacy, 2010)

Examples of lobbying

  • Personal letters
  • Face-to-face meetings with decision-makers (such as MPs in Parliament)
  • Informal contacts at receptions (e.g. at Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Working visits with decision-makers
  • Personal exchanges over the telephone
  • Drafting of joint strategies

Donors like when we are well informed when we have inputs about everything we are doing, when we are innovative, when we conclude partnerships, and when we have other donors on our list that will help us in the co-funding. Aside from many demanding actions in the project management chain, communication with donors is of crucial significance. It should be led by someone from the team with high communication abilities, in order to get the ideas and thoughts transferred effectively. Respecting the rules for good communication, whether verbal/non-verbal or written, sets the foundation for building partnerships with donors. There is an expression in project management referring to “charming” the donors. “Charming” in this sense implies eloquence, competence, precision, positive attitude, and readiness. 

Some of the skills a good communicator should possess in the process of direct or indirect fundraising are presented in the table below:

ATTRACTING DONORS’ ATTENTION

BUILDING THE RELATIONS

KNOW HOW TO EXPLAIN

EMOTIONAL RELATIONSHIP– KNOW HOW TO TELL THE STORY

Try to find people that al­ready know them and that will present your organisa­tion or institution

Organize certain events where they will be invited as guests

Personally arrange a meet­ing with a respectable or­ganisation member

After getting the attention of the donors, it is necessary to build a relationship, ask for ad­vice, and develop a dialogue. Do not beg for money on the first meeting, but explain why they are as donors interesting for the organisation, how can they contribute, and what are the strategic plans of your or­ganisation. At this phase you are not requesting anything but you are showing an in­terest in the donors and their field of interest

People giving funds want to invest in those organisations and institu­tions that will give the best results for the greatest number of people from the selected fields. What do­nors are interested in are – why are you special, what is your activ­ity program, what are the purpose and effects of your activity, what are the plans for the future, how will you contribute to that, what are the outcomes of your predic­tions, and what is the team you are working with like.

The emotional relationship towards your organisation or institution is always the greatest asset. Regardless of how good your project is, if the donors are not fond of you, it will hardly be realized. Also show that you follow their work, the type of proj­ects they support, and how satisfied you are with their program’s content. Think and talk positive. Be wise on the cultivation path in the com­munication process.

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