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Teaching NFPs to Walk the Blue Carpet


7 June 2017 at 4:45 pm
Wendy Williams
Not for profits looking for “insider knowledge” on how to inform, assist and influence decision-makers in federal Parliament can now turn to a new e-book.


Wendy Williams | 7 June 2017 at 4:45 pm


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Teaching NFPs to Walk the Blue Carpet
7 June 2017 at 4:45 pm

Not for profits looking for “insider knowledge” on how to inform, assist and influence decision-makers in federal Parliament can now turn to a new e-book.

Annie O’Rourke, the director of communications agency 89 Degrees East, has developed a free resource to offer practical advice for not for profits and other organisations on planning a trip to Canberra to meet with politicians and decision makers.

In particular, Walking the Blue Carpet – The 4Ps of Success, aims to help not for profits advance their cause by focusing on the 4Ps: to be purposeful, pragmatic, politically astute and have really good product.

“A well planned and strategically timed visit to Parliament House could be the start, middle or end of getting your message and issue the attention it deserves,” the book said.

“Never forget that when you enter the Parliamentary zone, you are instantly becoming a very small fish in a very big pond of national and international issues.

“But your mission is to stand out ahead of all the other groups making the trek to Canberra, and ensure that you are not only heard but also remembered well after your visit.”

The guide builds on an earlier document, So, You’re Coming to Canberra, that was produced in 2007 by O’Rourke, who was then CEO at Media Team Australia, an organisation established to assist not for profits to improve their communications skills and strategies.

O’Rourke, who has also worked as a senior advisor to the prime minister and has directed federal government campaigns, told Pro Bono News her time spent in Canberra had given her a good insight into how people could maximise their opportunities.

“I have seen organisations with good policy initiatives but they are not able to maximise the opportunity. They can’t focus on the task at hand… and when they have a meeting they throw everything at the minister,” O’Rourke said.

“It is about bringing it down to the key points and how to get your key points across.”

O’Rourke, who said she has also received “positive feedback” from government advisors for the book, said it was important for organisations to build a relationship with politicians and decision-makers over time.

“I would see different organisations go in and have a short, focused meeting and get their point across, and they are always welcome to come back. Others would show their passion, but the point would be unfocused and then next time the minister would think it is not going to be an effective meeting and wonder if it is worth it,” she said.

“[I think the book will be] a really helpful tool, that will lead to more effective outcomes for organisations that have a good cause or good idea,”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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