Bob Smucker's "Evaluating Your Lobbyist"

Organizations are asking with increasing frequency how to evaluate the performance of a nonprofit lobbyist. There is no one set of performance guidelines that provides certainty regarding such evaluation. However, there are a number of performance clues related to a lobbyist's activities that can help you judge how well your lobbyist is serving your organization.

Smart and Ethical Principles & Practices:

Smart and Ethical Principles and Practices for Public Interest Lobbying NEW!
We invite nonprofit lobbyists and advocates to use the following principles and practices to benchmark and continuously improve their own efforts to advance public interests and improve public policy. Consider incorporating them into strategic planning, staff and volunteer training, and other organizational capacity building, as well as opportunities for dialogue with coalition partners, constituents, board members and other stakeholders. Download the following

Democracy depends on citizen participation, and nonprofit organizations provide one of the most effective vehicles for engaging people in the democratic process.  Since 1998, the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest (CLPI) has helped nonprofits across the country, working on a variety of issues and causes, to understand that nonprofit lobbying and advocacy are not only legal, but also critical to achieving their missions and making democracy work.

CLPI promotes, supports, and protects 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy and lobbying to strengthen participation in our democratic society and advance the missions of charitable organizations.

In 2006-07, CLPI led a process and convened the National Summit on Smart and Ethical Principles and Practices for Public Interest Lobbying at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund's Pocantico Conference Center to:

  • Define and lift up "public interest lobbying" as core to nonprofit work.
  • Identify and advance smart and ethical practices in public interest lobbying.
  • Strengthen the CLPI Action Network to enrich and expand the climate for public interest lobbying.

The idea to develop "Smart and Ethical Principles and Practices for Public Interest Lobbying" arose at our 2005 CLPI Action Network Retreat, and it gained relevance in light of the Abramoff scandal, the resulting increased scrutiny of lobbying in general, and the ripple effect that has further impacted nonprofit lobbying.  Nonprofits - guardians of the public interest - must seize the opportunity to proactively define our efforts in terms of both ethical and strategic principles for public interest lobbying as a vehicle for better public policy and, ultimately, lasting systemic change.


"Getting the change you want in public policy will occur most readily when you join with other groups in coalition."

Elizabeth M. Heagy

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