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The Summer Doldrums is Your Greatest Enemy to Government Relations Success!

The common thinking amongst organizations and senior decision makers is that there is no point in engaging in government relations activities during the summer.

The questions that lobbyists commonly hear from their clients in the spring, or at the start of new summer government relations engagements, include the following:

  • Are elected officials and staff accessible in the summer?
  • Shouldn’t we wait until September to engage the government when the house sessions start?
  • What can we really get done when everyone is on vacation?
  • Doesn’t government activity slow down during the summer?

The secret to why The CCS Group has had so much lobbying success is that WE DON’T TAKE THE SUMMER OFF!

Summer is the optimal time to engage and advance your government relations campaign.

The faulty logic of slowing down your activities during the summer will lead to the undesirable outcomes of:

  1. 1. Your organization losing momentum that you’ve built in the winter and spring - needed to advance your engagements and build those much-needed key relationships that will be important for your government relation’s success.
  2. 2. Your organization loses a block of optimal time, to engage and shape the mind of of government officials. 
    1. a. With the house rising for the summer, officials aren’t worrying about fielding questions from the opposition and are ready to discuss advancing their own political agendas.
    2. b. They’re practically more available in the summer than at other times during the year -  when they aren’t preparing for house duties.
  3. 3. Much of the fall economic statements for both provincial and federal governments are developed during the April to August months. 
    1. a. This is a legislative engagement opportunity that your organization wouldn’t be accessing.
  4. 4. If you don’t do it, other stakeholders of interest (and in some cases your competitors) who are currently working hard at engaging government officials or are building their own strategic plan and powerful messaging and arguments, will have a huge advantage over your organization when you start working on your engagement of government in the fall/winter session.

Let me elaborate on each of the above points to highlight my case. 

I believe to date, our organization working at full-steam during the summer, has translated to tangible ‘wins’ for our clients in their government relations engagements.

Building Relationships:
Lobbying is not just about presenting your case, it's also about building relationships with decision-makers and stakeholders. Engaging during the summer allows for more relaxed and informal interactions, such as attending events and networking in various forums including community activities.

These interactions can help establish rapport, trust, and credibility, which can be valuable when advocating for your cause.

Decision-Maker Availability:
During the summer, decision-makers such as legislators, policymakers, and government officials often have more flexible schedules and in fact, are more accessible.

With the house not in session, they have reduced workloads and are now open to meeting with stakeholders and hearing their concerns.

Utilizing this time to engage with decision-makers can increase the chances of being heard and influencing their policy thinking.

Legislative Opportunities:

Legislative processes for the provincial and federal government, including the all-important fall economic statement: which is a progress report mixed in with new government priorities, are often developed and formed in consultation with stakeholders during the summer months.

The economic statement is used as a forum to provide different Ministries and Departments with policy direction and resources to advance their political and strategic goals.

By engaging in lobbying during this time, you can have a direct impact in shaping the fall-economic statements and/or the subsequent budget thinking and policy for 2024/2025.

Strategic Planning and Preparation:

Some stakeholders use the summer months to strategize, plan, and prepare for upcoming lobbying activities in the fall. This can involve conducting research, gathering data, developing persuasive arguments, and organizing your advocacy campaigns.

By investing time during the summer to prepare, you can enter the fall season with a well-thought-out, researched, and organized message.

Summer is Just Simply the Most Powerful Time to Advance Your Organization’s Government Relations Goals

Ultimately, engaging in lobbying and working through the summer instead of waiting for the fall legislative session provides an opportunity to be proactive, seize legislative opportunities, build relationships, engage the public, and strategically prepare for effective advocacy.

By taking action during this time, you can increase the chances of your organization achieving its lobbying objectives and ensuring the success of your organization. 

If you get left behind because you took the summer off,  you’ll be spending the fall/winter and into the spring of the following year explaining to leadership why other organizations are succeeding and your organization was left behind.

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