Washington DC lobbyists provide essential services to help influence the political decisions being made in the legislative branch of the government. They work on behalf of nonprofits and other organizations to voice their concerns to Congress about legislation and how it affects their cause or issue. Lobbyists have a deep understanding of how the federal government works, as well as the rules, regulations, and laws imposed on lobbyists.
Lobbying first came about from the language within the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states, the “right of people to petition the government.” As such, lobbyists started advocating and lobbying on behalf of constituents, the general public, businesses, and nonprofit organizations, and trying to influence legislation within Congress.
By 1876, all lobbyists were required to register with Congress and, since 1995, are required to disclose and report their activities to the government, as a means to determine the extent of their involvement in specific pieces of legislation, and to ensure they are adhering to both state and federal lobbying regulations and laws.
Using Social Media for Advocacy and Lobbying
Lobbying and advocating are two different processes people tend to get confused, because they are related, but they involve different functions and tasks. In a previous blog post, we discussed the difference between these two functions in greater detail, but will now provide a brief review, as follows:
- Advocacy is arguing in favor of a cause or issue. Anyone can advocate for any number of causes or issues they support. It is not uncommon to use social media to spread the word and educate people about a particular issue or cause.
- Lobbying, on the other hand, is attempting to sway the influence of a public official or politician on a cause/issue, and could involve both direct and grassroots lobbying. Requesting a member of Congress to introduce, amend, or vote for or against a particular piece of legislation are all good examples of lobbying.
Social media can be used for both advocacy and lobbying functions, and it is easier and more effective than traditional methods. Twitter and Facebook are two of the more widely used social media sites. The key to using social media effectively depends upon whether you are advocating or lobbying, and the tips below can be applied to either situation:
- Remain Professional
- Stay on Topic
- Avoid Introducing New Topics in Comments about a Different Topic
- Share Relevant Articles in Moderation
- Avoid the Overuse of Tagging and Hashtags in Posts
- Review the Timeline of Public Officials/Politicians before Tweeting/Tagging
- Search for Hashtags to See What Others Are Saying
- Remind Legislators How You Want Them to Vote
- Thank Legislators That Voted Your Way on the Issue/Cause
Navigating the complexities of advocacy and lobbying, and related activities, can seem overwhelming for nonprofit organizations and smaller organizations. Fortunately, Lobby It has made numerous accomplishments for those who were previously under-represented in Washington DC.
We offer a low, basic monthly fee, and other customizable solutions, to help organizations and business of all sizes achieve their advocacy and lobbying objectives. Contact Lobbyit at 202-587-2736 today to speak to a representative and learn how they could help your business or organization.