Membership Body Lobbying

We have been working with a number of membership organisations for many years now.  As one of the ways to cement our commitment to membership marketing we became a Memberwise Recognised Supplier a few years ago, alongside regularly attending the annual conferences.

We recently gave a Membership Body Lobbying Masterclass at the MEMX Conference in April, alongside our client BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology).  We lobbied on behalf of BABTAC as part of the Cosmetic Interventions review carried out by the Department for Health following the PPI scandal, which began back in 2012 although the final report was only released late in 2016.

We thought it would be a useful to tool to share our thoughts on things to consider before you start the lobbying process and the key challenges you may face...

Before you start, there are three questions that you need to ask yourself, your group or your wider membership. These are:

  1. Does it directly impact your industry? If the answer is yes, then lobbying can or should be a part of your toolkit to combat any adverse effects. If it doesn’t then you need to assess how it might affect your industry or whether there is another organisation you can join forces with.
  2. Is it in the best interest of your members? This is a key question to ask yourself - Will it benefit your members if you do lobby, or hurt them if you don’t?
  3. Is it or should it be a priority? Some issues don’t seem to be a big deal, so once the situation has been assessed, you then need to identify and understand the potential short-term and long-term impact.

Once you have made the decision that you want to lobby, then there are an endless amount of tools at your disposal such as petitions & surveys, government consultations, self-regulation, PR & Media and even digital! The list really does go on...

There are however, many challenges organisations face when lobbying and although there are too many to list here in this blog there are three core issues which crop up time and time again:

  • OPPOSITION: If the issue is weighty enough and affects industries and organisations other than your own, then you will most certainly come up against opposition and you will likely contradict what they are saying. The key tactics here are to be sure of your argument and to understand your opposition’s point of view.
  • BUDGET: It is difficult to define a fixed budget for lobbying, there are too many factors involved! The best approach is to set out an end-goal, alongside smaller milestones which you can target as a business. This means you can focus on the initial milestone, attributing budget to achieving the first aspect.
  • SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE: To you, your argument may seem the only one that is relevant, but in many cases you will be the only organisation to hold that view. Many membership organisations shy away from swimming against the tide of opinion, but you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

There are many external factors which can impact your business and sometimes you do have to sit back and watch them happen. So if you have the chance to change what’s happening and the outcome to benefit your industry, why not get in touch with us about lobbying?

We have experience in successfully contributing to public policy and public consultations and if the future of your business or your members’ businesses are being challenged we’d love to support you.  If you’d like to chat to find out more, give us a call on 01242 250642.  We’d be only too happy to discuss.

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