How to lobby effectively

How to lobby MPs, Parliamentary Committees, Government Ministries

The usual approach to lobbying in South Africa involves identifying who you want to influence about which issue, researching the target’s views and past actions related to the issue, composing your arguments about the issue, finding ways to get access to the target and then launching your campaign.

See the SAngoPulse description of Advocacy and Lobbying:

“Advocacy, as explained in the CORE Guide to Civil Society Lobbying is “the organised effort of like minded groups or individuals for systemic peaceful change to government policy”. More broadly, advocacy can apply to opinions and positions as well as legislature, and targets civil society, communities and business, as well as government.

Lobbying, on the other hand, is a form of advocacy specifically targeting legislators and government officials.

Both activities rely on influence, persuasion and encouragement to gain support for the views of the advocating group with regards to a particular policy and are
participatory approaches to governance and democracy.

Advocacy activities include:

  • Awareness campaigns engaging the public.
  • Information workshops targeting civil society organisations.
  • Engaging the media through editorial pieces, letters, and phone ins (for radio).
  • Hosting street demonstrations.

Lobbying activities include:

  • Submitting brief position papers or memoranda to parliamentary portfolio committees and government officials explaining the key points and evidence underlying the position for which you are lobbying.
  • Making oral presentations to parliamentary portfolio committee hearings.
  • Conducting research and collecting data to back up the proposals made in your position papers/submission.
  • Monitoring parliamentary debates and committee hearings.
  • Writing letters to individual politicians to solicit their support.
  • Signing petitions that are delivered to a political figure.
  • Delivering a memorandum to a political figure.”

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