What is the added value of database management for lobbying? One is a sophisticated way to store digital information, the other is the art of connecting like-minded parties.Yet, here at Access2Europe, we combine the two, and we do so successfully. We would go even further to assert that Database Management is an important instrument of lobbying.
During my time as a contract administration and as consultant, I was amazed by the reliance on simple excel data-sheets. It was my employer’s compendium of their network: a simple list with name, family name, e-mail address and rarely more in-depth information. It was known that person X and person Y had long-standing relations with the company, but what exactly those relations entailed was anyone’s guess.
At access2Europe, we feel that this does not do our network justice. It is especially troublesome when done in relation to the Members of the European Parliament.
Each MEP fulfils a distinctive role as a member of the European Parliament (or any other contact in his or her respective function). The MEP has his or her own political affiliation, interests, activities, voting habits, professional activities and aspirations for the European Union. Sending exactly the same briefing or contacting every single MEP in an identical way assumes that every MEP is exactly alike. It does not make sense, is perhaps slightly disrespectful and yet so often this is the modus vivendi.
This becomes even more troublesome when this relationship is being build and expanded upon. Just like the MEP, this relationship is unique and additionally, develops over time. When addressing a contact, acknowledging this unique relationship seems evident, but in our experience, this hardly happens. The same newsletter, message or invitation is send to all MEPs.
Thus, it is not hard to imagine that MEPs hardly reply, delete newsletters and ignore invitations. We hear in this business that events with four MEPs is a big success. This doesn’t surprise us: it is perfectly reasonable for an MEP to expect to be contacted because off the job he/she does and not because of having his/her e-mail address present on an excel sheet.
So our advice: know who your MEPs are, who is intrigued and interested in the projects of your stakeholders. What has the MEP said in the EP? What is her or his stand on your issue? Has the MEP already been invited for lunch? Is he interested to make an on-site visit? Have you talked to her before? What has been said? Who would he like to get in touch with? Would she like more information? Know the answers to these questions, update your database and adjust your interactions accordingly.
Database management is respecting MEPs as individual political forces of the European Union. Each 751 members have their own background and their own personal relationship towards you and the stakeholder you represent. Respect that background and acknowledge that unique relationship.
At least, that is what we do at Access2Europe.
Find out more about our digital tools: access2europe.eu/background-services/
You can download a case study here: Database Management, before/after, PDF, 367Kb