The Progressive lobbying manual for today

Lobbying for Change: Find your voice to create a better society:  Alberto Alemanno

Professor Alemanno is an academic, lobbyist and lawyer. He has also written one of the best books on lobbying I have come across.

Every lobbyist who is serious about their craft should read it.

I picked it up today in the airport and finished it this evening.

For many years I worked for as a lobbyist for Progressive causes. This is the play book I wished had been written. I now work, most of the time, on the other side.

I consider that after the philanthropic community read this book they will require NGOs to follow the steps, activities and tips (see below).

This is an excellent manual or checklist of best practice on lobbying for progressives. After your read this book, read Chris Rose’s book on how to win campaigns.

This book is well written and absent from jargon.

What is clear that if you are serious about lobbying nothing can be left to chance. Perhaps because Professor Alemanno is a lawyer, the constant theme of written plans (updated) comes across.

This is a guidebook for any serious group of progressives. It is clear that technology has changed the rules of the game. It has made it easier for concerned citizens to activate a campaign. he means have been given, at low or no cost, for that campaign to be more effective and hit the right target audiences.


Part III “The Toolbox” should be re-titled “The Goldmine”.


10 Steps


Step 1: Pick your battle

Step 2: Do your homework

Step 3: Map your lobbying environment. Namely: 1. the lobbying target; b. your potential allies; 3. your opponents.

Step 4: Draw up a lobbying plan

Step 5: Pick your allies

Step 6: Raise money

Step 7: Plan your communication

Step 8: Face to face meetings

Step 9: Monitor progress and delivery

Step 10: Stick to the lobbying rules


He then goes on to explain how to do this in practice. What is being recommended is not easy. It is a lot of work.  But, he provides case studies where he or others have run and won citizen based lobbying campaigns.

Someone has taken the time to breakdown a model that works and shared it with the world for the cost of the book.

10 Actions

He lists clear activities for each step and then goes on to give useful tips.

Activity 1: Chart the issue and its solutions.  This looks look: 1. Problem definition: what the issue is, 2. Public consultation: what people think about the issue, 4. Design of the policy options: how to solve the issue, 4. Adoption: making a decision to adopt the solution, 5. Policy implementation: the implementation of the solution, 6. Policy adjudication somebody may challenge the solution(s) before the Courts, 7. Policy evaluation: how well the solution worked.

Activity 2: Map your issue

Activity 3: Prepare a background document

Activity 4: Look for pro-bono support

Activity 5: Identify lobbying target(s)

Activity 6: Draw a power map

Activity 7: Look for pro-bono help

Activity 8: Draw up a communication plan

Activity 9: Write your story

Activity 10: Blogging


22 Tips

  1. Pitch your issue
  2. Work as a network and be agile: He recommends Skype, Slack and Google Hangout
  3. Use pro-bono
  4. Gibe your issue a human face
  5. Be data driven, even without data
  6. Precedents matters
  7. Appearance matters – make the fact sheet slick
  8. Stakeholder profiling – do it
  9. Make a positional map with movable text boxes
  10. Submit your observations – take part in public consultations
  11. Draft your amendment
  12. File an amicus curiae brief
  13. When to launch an on line petition
  14. Coalition members’ inventory
  15. Don’t be afraid to ask for money
  16. Branding for the coalition
  17. How readable is your press release
  18. Mock interview
  19. DIY Digital Campaign
  20. Set up your blog
  21. Practice your empathy
  22. Prep your elevator pitch


I now have an easy test to know if a lobbyist is serious about their craft. I just look to see if this book is on their book shelf.

My review to does not do justice. There are too many gems in this book. Just go and buy and read it.