Prepare for the federal budget cycle: Creating your winning government engagement strategy
30 June 2022 at 7:30 am
With a wealth of experience in government relations, founder and CEO of Fifty Acres Jo Scard shares her key ingredients for a winning government engagement strategy.
Whilst the federal election is over for another term, budget discussions are always a consideration at both a state and federal level, and play a pivotal role in the success of not-for-profit organisations. If you don’t have an engagement strategy, now is the time to consider how the government can help, and which projects are likely to attract investment and attention ahead of the federal budget announcements in October.
Here’s our five top tips for formulating a government engagement strategy that will progress your organisation; and strengthen relationships with key stakeholders.
Research, research, research
Often, the greatest success stories begin with a tonne of research. It is vital to know your project back to front, but also to ensure there are connections between your organisation and project objectives, and the government’s policies and approach.
The more you can demonstrate how your project is solving a problem within Australian communities, the more likely it is that you will attract government interest and investment. Make sure you are aware of your project’s strengths, and importantly its weaknesses, who the key stakeholders are, and how your organisation can help the government with its cause.
Know who your political targets are
As part of developing your engagement strategy, research the ministers and the portfolios they oversee, follow their media statements, and if possible, chat to a policy advisor to find the right fit for your cause.
There are so many ministers and portfolios, so rather than trying to please everyone, it is crucial that you have particular government representatives in mind to improve your chances of a response to your pitch.
Be realistic about your project timeline and budget
There really is nothing to be gained by underestimating your project budget or minimising your timeline. It is best to present government ministers with the facts and let them make their decision. Also consider whether your project needs investment over one, or several years. It is ideal to have the government as a partner for the entire life of your project. Do your research, understand your costs and be confident in the proposal you are presenting.
Attempt to garner strong support prior to approaching the government
If you have other valued stakeholders or organisations who are supporting or investing in your project, be sure to include them as part of your proposal. Letting the government know that your project already has advocates is a great way to indicate future success. If there’s a chance the government has already worked with stakeholders on other projects (that met objectives), then this is even better news for your organisation.
Be clear about what success looks like
Outcomes are one of the most important factors the government will take into consideration when deciding on whether to become your partner. What will your project or initiative achieve, which community members will benefit, and how will those benefits help the government with its own policies and objectives? You should have the evidence and data to support any claims you wish to make, as the government will do its homework.
Jo Scard will also be joining Charmaine Crowe, program director of social security at ACOSS, and Jason Glanville, co-founder and director of Native Foodways, for a Pro Bono Australia webinar on the Albanese government’s top priorities for the coming year and the vital role the engagement and advocacy of the not-for-profit sector plays in holding the government to account.
To find out how Fifty Acres can help with your government engagement pursuits, contact us via the website.