“How many of your employers evaluate you for job performance?,” I ask every Lobby School class. All hands raise. This question is followed by, “How many of your organizations evaluate your contract lobbyist for job performance?” Perhaps, 10 hands raised in the last 22 years.
Generally, having 0-5 years of experience, most Lobby School students lack the maturity or skill to manage a lobbying campaign. Few know what to expect from outside lobbyists, professionally and contractually.
From 30 years in the field, I would guess maybe 1/100 organizations are sophisticated consumers of contract lobbying services. Many principals neither understand nor want to understand lobbying. They want to do what they were hired to do: commerce, sales, member services, or mission statements – anything but state government affairs. As a result, organizations needlessly risk otherwise avoidable harm but, more so, surely do not get their best returns on investments of money and political capital.
Clients can improve capitol safety and ROIs by learning how to work more effectively with their contractors. Even junior lobbyists can learn to manage better advocacy campaigns.
Managing Contract Lobbying will be presented in Arlington, Virginia from 1-5 pm on May 24. The workshop focuses on three key elements: reasonable engagement documents, what in-house staff should expect from themselves, and how to evaluate contractor performance.
Every registrant receives Winning with Lobbyists, Professional edition (hardcover, 488 pages). This book provides directions from contract and in-house lobbyists, lawmakers, staff, attorneys, and lobbyist employers from across the United States. While listed as the author, I am really more an editor, organizing their stories, insights, and practice tips into an experience-based best-practices client guidebook. And as for our workshop, seven appendices provide 25 pages of hiring documents, performance goals, and evaluation forms.
Winning with Lobbyists, Professional edition is available from the Lobby School, Amazon, and most books sellers.