How to Successfully Utilize Lobbying Coalitions

Today’s podcast is on utilizing lobbying coalitions. A vital aspect of lobbying in California is to join forces with other similarly situated parties because a larger group is often more powerful and effective than a single voice, or even just a few.

These organized efforts often draw more attention to an advocacy position and allow decision makers to know that many groups share the same perspective on a pending bill or issue. And quite frankly, in most cases, a collective voice is more effective than just a single voice. I think the key to running a successful lobbying coalition is to keep the group cohesive when working for or against an issue or measure.

Lobbying coalitions can also provide other benefits. One is that individual companies or interest groups may not want to be the only ones publicly involved in the bill or issue. As such, a lobbying coalition provides cover, if you will, for others to be more public and vocal with their position. A lobbying coalition can also provide funding to – for example – hire a grassroots firm or a media relations company to work on different aspects of a lobbying campaign.

Coalitions can be a critical component of effective lobbying because elected officials and their staff are often more interested or persuaded on an issue or bill when there are multiple voices weighing in on a particular issue or measure. What would you find more persuasive, an entire industry united in support or opposition to a bill, or just a couple companies?

Lobbying coalitions are also important because they allow for division of labor among their participants by ensuring that all the key legislators are being lobbied on a bill or use. That may not always occur if just one individual or group is responsible for lobbying a particular measure.

Lastly, it’s worth remembering that while it’s often said that two heads are better than one, it’s equally important to keep in mind that too many cooks spoil the meal. Both of these clichés are equally valid when applied to a lobbying coalition, and it’s important for an organization’s leader to be able to assess which one applies in a given situation.