MPs are warning charities against hiring public affairs agencies for their lobbying activity and are instead recommending building a close relationship with around a dozen of their ranks.
The advice comes in a nfpSynergy survey of MPs, who were asked to imagine they worked for a charity and how best to spend a few thousand pounds on lobbying activity.
The top response, cited by 53 per cent of MPs, is to build a relationship with a small group of 10 MPs.
The second most cited response is to forge links with members of a select committee or an all party parliamentary group. This is the preferred option among 50 per cent of MPs.
Hiring a public affairs agency is the least popular strategy, cited by just three per cent of MPs.
Other unpopular strategies include running a fringe meeting at a party conference, which is mentioned by only six per cent of MPs and having a stand at a party conference, which is cited by 10 per cent of MPs.
MPs also feel that encouraging the public to lobbying them would be far more effective. This is mentioned by more than a third (36 per cent) of respondents.
Fiona Wallace, who heads nfpSynergy’s influence audiences team, said: “The most popular choice of lobbying method was ‘building a relationship with 10 MPs’, selected by 53% of MPs.
“This was also highest when we last asked the question in 2008. ‘Building a relationship with a Select Committee and/or APPG’ was the next most popular charity lobbying method among MPs, mentioned by half of MPs.
“The popularity of these top two choices, which both involve engaging a relatively small proportion of Parliament, suggests that a substantial proportion of MPs would include a targeted approach in their strategy if they worked for a charity.”