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Five tips for not for profits to leverage the next budget cycle

Oct 17, 2019

Our CEO + Founder Jo Scard shares some advice on how to cut through with key decision makers.

Federal budget time is a key opportunity for not for profits to lobby for funding or build support for a broader advocacy campaign. But it’s a competitive space.

Everyone comes knocking on the halls of power in Canberra around this time. You will be up against not just the not-for-profit sector but also corporates, unions, and a raft of other interested parties vying for attention.

These are our tips to help not-for-profit leaders to engage in Canberra and cut through with the key decision makers when it counts.

 

1. Consider the bottom-line

It’s imperative to consider the current external environment when developing your approach for lobbying.

The Coalition government has created a tight fiscal environment and wants to maintain a budget surplus. Australia also faces the possibility of a looming recession and international slowdown.

In this context, your ideas need to be shovel-ready, easy to support, evidence based and show value for investment.

 

2. Frame for success

You need to frame your asks and pre-budget submission in the most attractive way.

Pitch specific funding requests that will work and might be supported. Make sure it contains a win-win – spell out how acting will save the government money. This will also show that you understand their priorities.

Allow input from others to help. Touch base with relevant advisers and ministers in the department to discuss your proposal before you finalise it, and begin the process of securing buy-in.

 

3. Pre-budget submission

Don’t fall into the trap of making it War and Peace. The government provides guidelines on what to include.

Make it easily digestible – an executive summary and infographics will help.

 

4. Network

Depending on the size and scale of your asks you need to factor in broader support.

If you involve third party supporters in your submission it will have more sway. Look widely for coalition partners – consider like-minded charities, peak bodies, professional associations, corporates, local and state government, and community influencers.

The more support you can show, the harder your request will be to dismiss.

 

5. Go public

A big focus needs to be on the public side of your campaign. This is how you show that your ask is wanted and needed by voters.

Of course, politicians care deeply about what the general public is concerned with because it means votes, which they could either win or lose at the next election.

 

Originally published on Pro Bono Australia.

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