Charities fail to win over MPs with their lobbying

A new poll has cast doubt on the conventional wisdom that charities hold more sway than business when it comes to lobbying MPs.

Westminster: charities failing to impress MPs
Westminster: charities failing to impress MPs

The think-tank nfpSyne­rgy surveyed 180 MPs asking them which charities have directly impressed them most in the past six months.

Major charities such as Mencap, RNID and the Royal British Legion have all failed to inspire the vast maj­ority of MPs, according to the poll. For each of these charities, only three of the MPs named them as having crea­ted a favourable impression.

Barnardo's scored only slightly better with four MPs voting for the children's charity. The Alzhei­mer's Soc­iety performed higher, with 11 MPs having a good imp­ression of the org­anisation.

The charity that performed best has kept its identity a secret. This charity registered a favourable imp­ression with 15 of the 180 MPs - beating the other charities but still only managing to inspire some eight per cent of the MPs.

The findings appear to contradict a 2007 report by the Hansard Society that
ind­icated that MPs are more rec­eptive to lobbying by charities than lobbying by business (PRWeek, 14 March 2007).

The Hansard Society polled 160 MPs and found that just one in five MPs agreed with the statement: ‘Private companies are generally more adept at lobbying than charities.'

The new figures also app­ear to show that those charities with a high level of independent inc­ome are better lobbyists. For example, the best performing charity has a 94 per cent voluntary inc­ome. Mencap, RNID and Royal British Legion, which fared less well with the MPs, have voluntary incomes of seven per cent, 28 per cent and 52 per cent respectively.

NfpSynergy director Joe Saxton said: ‘These findings show that only charities with significant proportions of non-statutory income feel independent and confident enough to engage with, and thereby impress, MPs.'




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