Written by Heidi Drauschak - CrowdLobby CEO
We never meant to start a company. We just stumbled onto an idea that we thought the world needed to know about. And just like that, CrowdLobby was born.
I was working at a lobbying firm (sometimes conspicuously called the “government consulting” branch of a law firm) and became increasingly aware of how effective lobbyists were. I had known that they were powerful - otherwise we wouldn’t all joke about them running the government - but I had never before realized just how effective they were at changing policy. I watched the lobbyists around me changing legislation everyday and it blew my mind. And not because of the influence they had over legislators, but because of how straightforward it all was. Sure, a little bit of lobbying happens behind the scenes in cigar-filled rooms, but most of it happens completely above board in totally legal ways. Lobbyists simply know who to talk to, when to talk to them, and how to frame information in a way that makes it attractive to every party. They’re professional deal makers. In an ironic turn of events, I was watching lobbyists do more legislating and compromising than what I was seeing from the legislators themselves.
But I wasn’t too fond of our clients. Because lobbying typically comes with a big price tag, only big corporations and special interests consider hiring lobbyists. You know most of them: big pharma, big tobacco, big energy, and the like. But one day I thought to myself, “What if everyday people just pooled their money together and hired the same lobbyists?” I started asking around and was expecting someone to tell me that regulations or laws prohibited that from happening, but instead was met with lots of questioning stares and an occasional, “huh, that’s an interesting idea.” After several months, several dozen conversations, and hours of research, I decided that this idea - of aggregating small contributions from everyday people to hire a professional lobbyist - needed to be tested. So we brazenly charged ahead and created CrowdLobby. Because everyday people deserve the same voice in government as the big corporations. After all, it is our government!
With our newly launched website, we hope to prove this model. We want to show that when a group of like-minded citizens come together around a practical policy solution, they too can make their government listen. More than anything, we created CrowdLobby to help push forward some brilliant ideas that we hope will make all of society better. We recognize that lobbyists may not be the prettiest way of doing things, but it’s how the system currently works, so we’re working with what we’ve got! Maybe one day, CrowdLobby will even be able to lobby for tighter lobbying restrictions! But in the meantime, we’re here to fight fire with fire and give everyday people the same tools as big business. We’re confident that together we can make a change.