Equipped with strong communication skills, a lobbyist convinces legislators to opt for a public policy in support of their clients’ interests. Usually, a lobbyist (a public relations specialist) is hired by a public relations company, public interest group, union, or trade organization. Lobbyists utilize their understanding of the political system to provide public policy and political advice to clients. These clients would include overseas government, not-for-profit organization, and private sector companies. Public affairs consultants or lobbyists are also stakeholders in the decision-making phase in local government, regional, national, and European sectors. Lobbyists sustain the relationship with these government bodies and help clients market and safeguard their interests efficiently.
For aspiring lobbyist, there is no specific educational requirement. Moreover, lobbyists generally have at least a college education and a bachelor’s degree in communications or political science. Many are also lawyers or former politicians of political support staff. Having a network of strong relationships amongst government officials is a lobbyist’s most important asset.
Qualifications of a Lobbyist
One of the most crucial qualifications that an aspiring lobbyist has to have is strong analytical skills and strong communication skills. Another important qualification is knowledge about current news and events, and an understanding of legislative activities. An aspiring lobbyist should also have the ability to sustain a highly organized work atmosphere. A lobbyist should also be influential and convincing, and at the same time assertive. These are important qualities to help create and sustain strong relationships. An aspiring lobbyist must be able to handle high levels of stress and beat serious deadlines. Good judgment and creativity are also important qualifications for a lobbyist.
Duties and Responsibilities
A lobbyist acts as a supporter as well as a planner for the client’s cause. Recognizing and prioritizing the issues of the great importance is an important duty. Lobbyists bring problems and solutions to the notice of the lawmakers to get recognition for their issues and to convey transformation. Lobbyists also create campaigns or plans as solutions to gather support and undertake pressing troubles. Lobbyists also have to work with politicians in order to create legislation that maintains the interests of their clients. Also, lobbyists also sustain strong relationships with politicians, community members, and supporters. They also serve as a spokesperson for their issues.
A lobbyist also conducts fund raising for support and re-election of the politicians who support their cause. A lobbyist is also responsible for researching and analyzing legislation and joining congressional hearing. With the use of reports, polls, charts, and graphs. Lobbyists provide important information and data about the issues. They also conduct research about issues and check the position of some legislators on various bills. Another responsibility of a lobbyist is to create magazine and newspaper articles to campaign for issues. They are also expected to develop new policy areas, join political functions, social events, and parties.
Salary of a Lobbyist
The salary of a lobbyist depends on the work experience that he/she has and whether they work in non-profit or the private sector. During their first year, lobbyists earn $30,000 but it can increase to $80,000 and more after ten years. Lobbyists can also earn based on commissions and set salaries. Moroever, lobbyists working for non-profit businesses earn around $30,000 to $50,000.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/