The latest edition of Third Sector has a good article with advice from two new MPs (Stella Creasy and Stuart Andrew) on the NGO lobbying and campaigning that they’ve found most effective in the last year.
Much of what they suggest isn’t new, but it’s a useful article with tips from two MPs who used to work in the sector.
Here are a few of the comments they made;
1. Identify a local link to your issues – Conservative MP Stuart Andrew cites the example of a cancer charity that ‘wrote to say they were holding a reception at the House of Commons, and a constituent of mine who had suffered from ovarian cancer would be there’.
2. Ask an MP to do something specific – both MPs talk about the importance of not simply providing the MP with information but actually asking them to do something specific about it. Stella Creasy suggesting that ‘many just want to come in and brief me about things, as if I don’t read about them otherwise. That is frustrating’, going onto say that campaigns also need to be prepared to work with her on a soltuion saying ‘it’s disrespectful to think your job is over because you’ve told me about a problem’.
Andrew reflects on his time on the other side says ‘At the hospice, I just wrote to MPs explaining what we did at the charity. We didn’t ask for anything specific. The MPs could have arranged adjournment debates on children’s hospices or tabled specific questions about funding or access to hospices, had we asked them to’.
3. Come together– Stuart Andrew says ‘If I get six different charities campaigning on the same issue, it might be difficult to know where to turn‘ before going onto suggest that getting working in coalition can be more effective.