As the older generation of lobbyists is retiring, there is a growing number of younger people from the Millennia generation shaping the future of Washington lobbyists. In the past, lobbyists spent time developing and cultivating relationships inside the legislature offices. These relationships are critical to attempting to sway politicians’ opinions to that of the lobbyist, and to gain support for their issues and/or causes.
However, today, largely in part of advances in technology, the Internet, and social media, younger lobbyists no longer have to spend the long hours indoors. Rather, they can utilize social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to foster and develop virtual relationships with politicians and the politician’s staffers. As such, it allows them to change how lobbying is conducted and how it influences political outcomes of legislation.
Social media has become an essential tool for lobbying efforts. Lobbyists no longer have to meet face-to-face with politicians and other advocacy groups to influence and sway their opinions. They can post updates to Facebook and Twitter, grow their network of connections through LinkedIn, and more. Thanks to the Internet and social media, young lobbyists are able to multitask and accomplish more in less time than in the past, while also relying upon others to re-post and share content.
How to Become a Lobbyist
Another major shift for younger lobbyists concerns the steps they take when they want to become a lobbyist. In the past, the baby boomer lobbyists simply started working in the public service sector right out of college as a legislative aide, to develop their skills as an effective lobbyist, and then went on to become a lobbyist right away.
This is no longer the case. An underlying cause for this change has to do with the mandatory two-year lobbying ban regulation. After working as a legislative staffer, or other such position in the public sector, potential lobbyists must wait two years and spend this time working in the private sector before they can start lobbying or working for DC lobbying firms.
As such, more and more Millennial lobbyists are establishing careers in relevant private sector positions, to develop various skills vital to being persuasive lobbyists and to avoid the two-year ban altogether. Typical career paths aspiring lobbyists are taking include becoming lawyers, government analysts, and public speakers.
While they are working in the private sector, they start participating in lobbying internships and other such programs to gain further experience. It is during this time they start to foster and build relationships with other lobbyists and politicians. Once they have completed their internship, they formally register as a professional lobbyist and continue expanding their network of relationships.
Lobbyists today do much more than communicate with politicians the issues and causes of their clients. They must be able to not only be persuasive, but also analyze the impacts of legislature, and the impacts it will have for their clients. For nonprofits and business organizations, it is in your best interests to have lobbyists on your side. Otherwise, you have no control over what decisions are being made by Congress.
Call Lobbyit at 202-587-2736 now to discover how we can help your nonprofit or business and provide the representation you need in Washington.