Traditional Advocacy Vital but Non Traditional Tools such as Digital Media to See Growth in 2016 Public Affairs Budgets

Digital Media Remains Poised to Change Washington’s Advocacy Industry

WASHINGTON, DC – November 18, 2015 – Washington Insiders believe that traditional government relations continues to be the most effective means of achieving advocacy objectives, but the increased use of digital grassroots and grasstops will be the single most important change in how organizations seek to influence public policy in 2016, according to an inaugural survey released today by Rasky Baerlein. The survey of 201 Washington Insiders was conducted by the Prime Group from Sept. 28 – Oct. 5, 2015 and designed to gauge the relative importance of current and anticipated Washington public affairs spending.

“Successful Washington advocacy today must be nimble and utilize multiple components,” said Larry Rasky, chairman and CEO of Rasky Baerlein. “Experienced public affairs practitioners understand that you need to have more than one club in the bag.”

“The survey’s findings are further proof that Washington is adapting to an ever changing environment,” said Greg Schneiders, Founder and CEO, Prime Group. “Affecting specific policies is still the main goal of most influence efforts but building reputation is also a significant interest.”

Among the key findings:

  • Insiders expect the largest growth next year, as a percentage of their advocacy budgets, to be in the digital grassroots and grasstops sector. Fifty-eight percent (58%) expect that category to grow, including twenty-one percent (21%) who expect it to grow “rapidly.”
  • Social and digital media will generate the most importa nt changes and trends over the next five years in how organizations attempt to influence public policy decisions in Washington, Insiders said.
  • Nearly two-thirds, sixty-three percent (63%), expect their organization’s spending on direct government relations of Congress and the executive branch to stay about the same in 2016, while thirty-four percent (34%) expect it to grow as a percentage of their overall advocacy expenditures.
  • Traditional government relations is still the most cost-effective way to impact public policymaking at the federal level, according to sixty-six percent (66%) of respondents.
  • Organizations this year will spend forty-eight percent (48%) of their advocacy budgets on direct government relations on Capitol Hill and with executive branch officials. That’s more than twice as much as public and media relations, which was the second largest spending sector at twenty percent (20%). Traditional and digital grassroots and grasstops spending was fifteen percent (15%) of advocacy budgets.

Please click here to read the Washington Insider Survey.