Leonard Domino & Associates

By: Leonard Domino & Associates  09-12-2011
Keywords: government relations, Professional Lobbying, Retainer Arrangement,

Isn’t it true that only the biggest, richest organizations can afford professional government-relations services?

Absolutely not, but we’re not surprised that many people have that impression.

Part of the problem has been that government-relations costs have been open-ended. Lawyers, for example, will advise you on government relations at so-much-an-hour – but they’re reluctant to agree in advance on how many hours are involved.

Over the years, some lobbyist have asked for very large fees including, in some cases, huge contingency fees payable when a contract was awarded or a funding proposal approved. Often those operators claimed to have political influence or personal connections with decision-makers.

Fortunately, legislation at both the federal and provincial levels of government is catching up with these practices and, today, reputable government relations firms sell services instead of influence.

But we still think that many organizations fail to seek the kind of professional lobbying or government relations services that Leonard Domino & Associates offer because they assume the services are too costly.

That’s a mistake: professional lobbying help may be much more reasonably priced than you think and the professional advice can help make the difference between success and failure in your dealings with government.

So – if you have an issue with government, talk to us. You might be pleasantly surprised.

How do companies like Leonard Domino & Associates calculate your charges?

We base our charges on the amount of time our consultants spend on the clients account, much the way lawyers or other professionals do. The big difference is that we’ll agree in advance on the total fee we’ll charge. That gives your organization more certainty.

What kinds of contracts or agreements do government relations firms like Leonard Domino & Associates want from clients?

Generally, we like to reach agreement with clients on either a retainer arrangement or a project-based agreement.

Under a retainer arrangement, we and the client agree on the specific services we are to provide and on the amount of time our people will spend on that account on average each month over a period of six months or a year, and on what expenses, if any, will also be billed. Then we do the work and invoice on a monthly basis. This kind of arrangement has a number of advantages including that makes it possible for us and our clients to work steadily and consistently on the issues of concern – and it means the client can call and ask for help anytime without being concerned that it will run up the bill.

We also provide services on a project basis. In these cases, we and the client agree on a specific set of activities that have to be completed within a time-frame, and we calculate a cost based on the amount of consultant time and agreed-on expenses. In these cases, we invoice on a progress basis as the work is done, usually based on agreed milestones. Project agreements provide both consultant and client with clarity – about what work has to be done, when, and how much it will all cost.

In many cases, clients who have a retainer arrangement with us will identify specific extra or urgent work that has to be done, and we’ll agree on a project budget for that on top of the retainer. When the extra work is done and the project is finished, costs go back to the base retainer level.

Call or e-mail. We’ll talk business.

Keywords: government relations, Professional Lobbying, Retainer Arrangement,

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On balance, I think this is a healthy development, but involves some challenges.It means your executives will need to build your organization’s understanding of the way government actually works, and to develop practical strategies, messages and relationships to protect and further your interests as you negotiate with government.