Dec 8, 2020

December 8th 2020

Did you know that the voluntary sector and not for profits have been the least effective in accessing government and political power during the pandemic?

This is one of the key findings of research presented by Dr. Michele Crepaz, Lecturer in Public Policy at NUI Galway (School of Political Science and Sociology) to a short, but interesting and very valuable PRII online seminar recently.

Dr Crepaz was part of a team which studied the impact of Covid-19 on public affairs and advocacy practices across a number of countries and found that the not for profit and voluntary sector has lagged behind other sectors such as professional organisations when it has come to making their voice heard.

One of the findings was that human health and social work were way down the graph showing the level of political impact.

This news is of concern given that not for profits are the voice of so many vulnerable people and are providing a range of vital services, some of them now at risk due to the catastrophic drop in fundraising among these groups.

But why is the voluntary sector so far down the influence scale and what can be done about it?

There are few obvious reasons: many not for profits are small and don’t have the resources to give to lobbying such as an employee dedicated to lobbying. Others are so focussed on services that they literally don’t have time to do anything else and some think they don’t know how to do it and that it’s difficult.

The way politics works is that if you don’t put yourself in front of the political audience, they won’t do anything for you, because they don’t know what you want.

The pitfall is to assume that politicians know about your issues and your challenges. They don’t know unless you tell them, and in many cases, you will find that they want to help you, and what’s more, they can.

It might be time to make a start.