What do Public Policy Advocates do?
Although Public Policy Advocates can open doors for you, a good Public Policy Advocate will do a lot more than that. Public Policy Advocates can offer a whole range of services, including:
You really should already know what your goals are before you talk to any Public Policy Advocates. But Public Policy Advocates can help you translate your goals (which may be business-oriented or end-results oriented) into goals that make sense in the context of government
Strategy, Timing, & Focus
Help you develop a strategy and focus your efforts where they’ll be most successful at the proper time. If a Public Policy Advocate doesn’t specifically mention this in your talks with them, you might want to talk to another Public Policy Advocate. No matter how many contacts a public policy advocacy firm has, without the proper strategy, and execution at the right time, it won’t be effective.
Educate you on government processes, regulations, & potential traps (like conflict-of-interest laws).
Represent you and your interests to the government, so you don’t have to be there in person doing it yourself most of the time. Simply put, Public Policy Advocates are talking with lawmakers, their staff, civil servants, and everyone else involved in the process, day in and day out. Everyone working in the government has so much work to do and so many people talking with them all the time that, even if your issue is very important to someone, it probably won’t get enough attention without someone there to remind them about it. A good Public Policy Advocate should do that for you.
Help you develop relationships with people in government that can help you achieve your goals. This is where contacts come in. If you have a good Public Policy Advocate , he/she knows enough people that, even if he/she doesn’t know the specific people you really need to talk to, he/she can get introduced to them through someone else he/she knows. Often all it takes to get a meeting with a lawmaker who hasn’t returned your calls is a call from another lawmaker mentioning your name. Although your Public Policy Advocate doesn’t have to know the exact people you need to talk to for him/her be effective, he/she needs to know a lot of people. So the size of his/her contact pool is more important than the specific people in the pool. Quality of contacts is the next most important.
Find and support “champions” within the government who are willing to push for your objectives from within.
Individuals, businesses and organizations often have common interests that will provide a basis to work legislation effectively. Cooperation can significantly improve and strengthen the position being advocated on behalf of any individual or association. Coalition building is a key aspect of effective government relations. Many groups lack the staff, time or money to thoroughly participate in every legislative initiative or action on its own. Public Policy Advocates provide the professional and technical resources to help you develop these relationships, build the necessary coalitions, and advocate with greater numbers to enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Provide customized reports on pending legislation, interim studies, special commissions, task forces, roundtables, and other venues both inside and outside the legislative process. This includes tracking discussions, drafts, emerging issues, research reports and other activities that may ultimately affect legislation or client interests.
Plan and implement programs for client participation including strategic planning, policy development, monitoring and communications with government officials. Help you with coalition building, developing legislative or political presentations to targeted audiences and coordinating grassroots and media components of an effective government relations effort.
Advertise you and/or your project in appropriate places and appropriate ways.
Identify potential customers within the many, many agencies, organizations, and offices in the government.
Support your legal and political interests in new laws considered and enacted by government.
Navigate the processes, politics, and regulations to successfully deliver a project after you’ve succeeded in getting it.
How do Public Policy Advocates get paid?
Every public policy advocacy firm has different pricing, and the pricing will almost always depend on the type of project, amount of work involved, size of the client (the size of the company or organization), and expertise of the public policy advocacy firm in the specific areas you need help with.
In general, for a specific and fairly well-defined project, quotes may range from €5,000/month to €25,000/month. In general, the size of the quote increases as the size of the public policy advoccay firm increases. It’s important to know that these prices assume a contract of at least 1 year. They will tell you that most of the work in any project is in the first few months – and they’re being honest. What you’re really paying is a yearly fee, with payments spread out in monthly increments. It’s also important to note that you should expect to pay a premium for a really good firm. They may be willing to spread the costs out over 2 or 3 years to reduce your monthly fees, but they’ll usually expect to get paid well. This can be 2 to 3 times the price for a “normal” firm of the same size. And in this case, if you’re really confident that the Public Policy Advocate is good, it’s probably worth the extra. It’s kind of like choosing a lawyer to defend you against a murder charge, or a brain surgeon to operate on a life-threatening condition – yes, you can get someone less expensive, but is paying less money really worth it if they don’t get results? If possible, invest in a Public Policy Advocate ; once you get results, you’ll be glad you did.
A few important notes here:
- Size of Your Organization: Most Public Policy Advocates recognize that smaller companies and organizations cannot afford as much as larger ones, and they’ll charge accordingly; some even do pro-bono work for charitable organizations or causes. But be aware that if you’re paying a lot less than most of their other clients, you may not get as much of their attention on your issues
- Commissions: It’s against the law for Public Policy Advocates to get paid on commission. Don’t think of them like sales reps – they’re not. Instead, think of them more like attorneys – you pay them for their services, and if you have the right firm on the right case, they’ll get results. But if they don’t get results, you still have to pay them.