Hiring a lobbyist can be an easy or time consuming process, depending on how much effort you want to put into it. It’s not necessarily true that the more effort you put into it the better the results you’ll get; you need to know what you’re doing. However, it is true that, unless you know someone who can recommend a good lobbyist for you, your chances of getting good results will be lower.
And finding the right lobbyist is important. Alot of organizations are spending alot of money on lobbyists (see lobbying figures for 2008). So you’re probably not going to be able to compete with established players by just throwing money at it. But if you find the right lobbyist for the right issue, you can be successful despite the crowded field.
In addition, the process of hiring a lobbyist can be an important learning experience. I suggest you put some effort into it, if only to educate yourself enough that you can talk intelligently with whatever lobbyist you do finally hire.
Here’s an overview of the process (for details on each step, please click through to the specified page):
- Find potential lobbyists (see How to find a lobbyist)
- Interview each of them (see Questions to ask a lobbyist)
- Call the references they gave you.
- Narrow the list down to 2-3 firms.
- Keep in mind both how well you think they’ll do and how well they’ll fit within your budget.
- Meet with each of the finalists (see Evaluating a lobbyist)
- Negotiate and sign the contract (see Contract considerations)
And take a few minutes to review these additional lobbyist hiring tips.