How to lobby – 10 tips from our new podcast on the Grassroots Channel

Active citizens do it all the time, but what does it take to lobby effectively? This programme hears from two people about their experience of lobbying politicians and councillors. David Babbs works for Friends of the Earth and belongs to their group in Hackney. Georgie Bigg lobbys as part of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England – expecially in their efforts to resist the expansion of Bristol Airport.

Please scroll down to listen first. Here is a list of their most important tips in the order they emerged in the conversation:

1 Understand who has what power. Lobby the people who can make a difference and aks them to do things they have the power to do.

2 Find out what people think. The first step of lobbying is to ask those in power what their position is. They may already agree with you.

3 Work out what’s in it for them. What incentive might they have to help you? Do they have a personal passion which may be relevant?

4 People in power don’t always appreciate where public opinion is. If you believe the public is forging ahead of those in power tell them so, and most importantly prove it, perhaps with a petition?

5 Know what you want to achieve. This should probably be number one on the list. Be clear about what change you want to see before you meet someone. Stay focussed on that in the meeting.

6 Facts are critical. They persuade. Politicians are usually generalists so provide them with the information and ammunition to be experts in your subject. If you win their support show them how to act – give them the tools to be on your side and make your case.

7 Link the lobbying to a wider public campaign.

8 Don’t get angry – use the right tone of voice.

9 Try and get any commitments make in public – either in the press, at a public meeting, perhaps in parliament or on the minutes of a council meeting.

10 Be human – they are (I added that one – you may not agree!).

Lobbying and the blogosphere, some slightly random links:

Legitimate LobbyingBulletinthehead, Richard Edelman, PR Speak, Ray Collins (dead link), Digital Destiny (dead link), Paul Linford, PRWatch, David Maister (dead link).


  1. Ray Collins says:

    Thanks for the link Nick. Some good points in your podcast.
    I think No 5 – Know what you want to achieve – is certainly very important and should be No 1 on any list of tips for successful lobbying. With the right strategy and employing good tactics it is possible to ‘influence tomorrow’s decisions today’.

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