pushing a business agenda aren't the only ones who hire lobbyists.
Universities, unions and some public school boards hire lobbying groups.
¹ College officials and lobbyists cite many considerations about whether
to hire a firm - and if so, which one - and what to expect.
are a few questions to consider:
need a lobbyist at all?
Many colleges lobby in Washington
with a single goal: getting Congress to give them earmarks in annual
Colleges administrators who come
from states with large Congressional delegations may also need help in
maintaining regular contacts with all of the lawmakers who can do them
some good. Colleges, for instance, often ask their Congressional
representatives to write letters to appropriations committees in support
of earmarked funds for specific projects.
"If we're going to compete with the
rest of the universities in the state and across the country, every
member of our delegation should know what our university is about and we
are a statewide asset," says Richard L. Bucciarelli, associate vice
president for health affairs for governmental relations at the
University of Florida, a state that has 25 representatives and two
organization need an outside lobbying firm?
Contract lobbyists say they can
offer things that an in-house lobbyist can't. Some firms assign
multiple employees to work with a single client. Organizations
using in-house representatives typically employ just one or two to do
the work. Experienced firms can show the ropes to organizations that
have never tried to lobby in Washington.
What's more, on average, lobbying
firms appear to cost less than in-house efforts do. In part that
is because the firms can spread their office and administrative costs
over multiple clients. In 2003, 61 colleges reported paying $184,000, on
average, for their own employees to lobby. By comparison,
institution that hired lobbying firms paid an average of about $89,000.
What kind of
firm should we hire?
Opinions and tastes vary. Some
colleges favor lobbying firms that are big and well known in Washington.
Other officials say they
prefer lobbying firms with smaller client lists because, they believe,
each client gets more personalized service and attention.
Regardless of whom they hire,
organizations should remember that they can't expect a lobbyist to accomplish
their goal themselves.
"The colleges that achieve the most
success do more than simply write out checks, they actively participate
in the process to present their requests to lawmakers", says Daniel T. Neary, senior vice
president for college advancement at Northwest College.²