Lobbying and political campaigning are linked concepts. They aim to persuade an audience to do one’s bidding. They have different objectives and use diverse ways to achieve them.
What is Lobbying?
Lobbying is an “attempt to influence the decisions, or policies of legislators or members of regulatory agencies.” [Source] It involves the public contacting policymakers to support or oppose certain policies. It touches on people advocating or rejecting legislation. Lobbying is a type of advocacy.
What is political campaigning?
Political campaigning is “where political parties and their candidates try to persuade you to vote for them. Normally by talking about their policies” [Source]. These campaigns are carried out among voters and those responsible for electing a member into office.
Lobbying Activities Examples
Lobbying activities include:
- Meeting with legislators or their staff to discuss specific legislation
- Drafting or negotiating the term of a bill,
- Discussing potential contents of legislation with legislators or staff,
- Meeting with officials of the executive branch to influence testimony on a legislative proposal
- Urging a Presidential or gubernatorial veto [Source].
Political Campaign Activities Examples
Political campaign activities examples include:
- using social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the agenda of a political party. Candidates also upload their posters, logo, and manifesto on public platforms.
- Some go to the extent of printing regalia in form of t-shirts and hats
- Holding political rallies across the nations donating to causes and rolling out scholarships.
These activities are done to win the hearts of voters.
Similarities between Lobbying and Political Campaign
Both lobbying and political campaign are a form of persuading people to agree to some line of thinking. Also, these aspects rely on human resources to achieve their goals.
Lobbying and political campaigns tell their crowd to support or oppose some policies and legislation. The vital tool in these elements is convincing listeners to join your side. This also means that lobbying and political campaigns are forms of influencing people. The decision made after lobbying or a political campaign session affects the future of people.
Difference between Lobbying and Political Campaign
The difference between lobbying and political campaign is that lobbying involves a direct meeting with policymakers. Political campaigns focus on the voters. Lobbying is concerned with serious issues of governance and legislation. Political campaigns can be done on all issues such as:
- and other essential services.
Under lobbying, the people meeting together must be knowledgeable about the legislation or policies at hand. A political campaign does not require educated people as it can be done with teenagers or young adults or even those living in the streets.
From the definitions, lobbying seems like a formal setting and a political campaign is more relaxed.
Differences between Lobbying and Bribery
Bribery is “considered an effort to buy power; paying to guarantee a certain result.” Lobbying is “considered an effort to influence power, often by offering contributions” [Source]. Bribery is a crime but lobbying is not a crime. Bribery can take place on an individual level while lobbying requires a group of like-minded people to discuss issues. Lobbying targets politicians, elected officials, legislators, government agency employees. Bribery can target any person who has the power to make a decision.
Lobbying is about changing or influencing policy while bribery is about getting favors. Usually, people who indulge in bribery are rich and can offer money, but lobbying does not necessarily need wealthy people. Lobbyists are mostly government officials or those who have knowledge of governance or laws. Bribery can be undertaken by anyone.
Difference between Lobbying and Advocacy
Advocacy is the “process or act of raising awareness or providing information in favor of an idea.” Lobbying is “any attempt to influence specific legislation” [Source]. Advocacy has no limit as it can go on but lobbying activities may be “restricted to a percentage of your operating budget”. Lobbying focuses on influencing legislation that lobbyists feel needs some changes or to be adopted. Advocacy is centered on educating about a specific issue.
Lobbying is a form of advocacy, which means “all lobbying is advocacy, but not all advocacy is lobbying”. Advocacy aims at bringing changes while lobbying is an influencing machine. With advocacy, people take all types of actions to bring change. Lobbyists exert effort in persuading people to hear them and change policies or legislation.