Artem Chaplynsky reflects on his time spent working in the Premier’s Office and shares his beliefs on how to achieve success in lobbying the Ontario government. Artem has recently joined Grassroots Public Affairs as a consultant and will help clients navigate the complexities of government and public relations with confidence, aligning their interests with public needs. Artem can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During my 4 years in the Premier’s Office, I was presented with countless product pitches by companies and evaluated many campaigns aimed at driving policy changes. I saw what made them fail and created a weighted evaluation matrix to determine the factors that led to success. Read on to gain insight into the intricacies of government relations and set your campaign up for success.
To achieve success in lobbying the Ontario government, organizations must address common pitfalls such as inadequate planning, insufficient stakeholder research, and poor stakeholder engagement.
Laying the Groundwork with a Comprehensive Plan
A successful advocacy campaign begins with a robust project charter, which outlines the objectives, scope, and stakeholders. This essential document provides a roadmap for the team, ensuring all members are aligned in their efforts. Many organizations falter in their advocacy because they fail to answer 3 crucial questions:
- What are we looking to achieve?
- Who are our stakeholders?
- How will we gain the support of those stakeholders?
Prior to embarking on your project, ensure that you have a clear vision, an exhaustive list of potential stakeholders, and a well-defined stakeholder engagement plan. Seeking assistance from a government relations firm, such as Grassroots Public Affairs, can provide valuable guidance in creating a solid foundation for your campaign.
Identifying the Right People
Knowing who to engage in government is paramount to the success of your advocacy campaign. Begin by compiling a list of potential stakeholders so that when the opportunity arises to converse with a policymaker you can demonstrate that you value their time by doing your homework and can confidently request a meeting with a specific individual or group of people. Keep in mind that your issue or project is likely not a priority for them, so they may not readily think of the appropriate contacts for you. By conducting your own research, or working with a government relations firm, you can proactively prepare for these conversations and better navigate the government landscape.
Mastering Stakeholder Engagement
Not all government stakeholders you encounter will initially be supportive of your cause, but effective relationship management can help turn the tide. By clearly articulating the public benefits arising from your project, you can work to shift their perspective and foster positive connections. Maintaining open communication and addressing their concerns can lead to more fruitful and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders. One way to manage stakeholder engagement is by using the salience model. Measuring, tracking, and managing stakeholder prominence allows you to focus your effort where it matters most.
First Impressions Matter – Prepare for Success
In summary, thorough preparation is essential for a successful advocacy campaign with the Ontario government. By partnering with a GR firm like Grassroots Public Affairs, you can set your organization up for success with:
- A comprehensive advocacy assessment, which will serve as your project charter.
- A well-researched list of key stakeholders.
- A targeted stakeholder engagement strategy designed to garner support and foster positive relationships.
By addressing these challenges head-on, you can make a lasting impression and increase the likelihood of achieving your advocacy goals.