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Frequently Asked Questions

Despite Washington, DC’s high profile, the way the government works – and the way the private sector interacts with government – remains a mystery to most Americans. We hope you’ll find some answers here:

1. Why use a purely merit-based lobbying or government relations consulting firm?

2. What is your track record? How confident can I be that my organization’s goals will be achieved?

3. How much do your services cost?

4. I’m a member of a professional association that is active in Washington. Would it be to my association’s advantage to hire a consultant if we are already actively advocating our positions to policy makers?

5. What kind of interaction can I expect between my government relations strategy firm, myself, and my organization?

6. How does the government allocate taxpayer money, and how can my organization benefit?

7. Does it matter to my organization’s advocacy efforts whether Democrats or Republicans control Congress or the White House?

 

Q: Why use a purely merit-based lobbying or government relations consulting firm?

A: The U.S. Government is an extremely complicated system of organizations. If you want to do business with the government, if you want to advocate for or against certain policies that Congress is considering, or if you are seeking funding for your organization’s programs, it is enormously helpful to have people guiding you who understand the government, its people, and its processes. You provide the “what” and “why”, and we help you decide the “who, when, and how”. Since our entire effort is merit-based, there is a clarity and confidence level that speaks to integrity, and simply getting the government to recognize good ideas and work properly.

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Q: What is your track record? How confident can I be that my organization’s goals will be achieved?

A: The Charles Group, LLC has generated outstanding results for our clients since our founding in 1999. While nothing in Washington can be guaranteed, we have helped our clients to recognize and present merit-based appeals, which in turn, have generated millions of dollars in appropriations, product sales, and legislative victories each year. Our growth has been based on referrals from other clients – a testament to the confidence our current clients have in our work.

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Q: How much do your services cost?

A: Some of our clients are required to work with outside consultants only on an hourly basis. While we normally work on a monthly retainer, we are willing to work with the client to establish a payment schedule that works for all parties and have the administrative structures in place to accommodate a wide range of client requirements.

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Q: I’m a member of a professional association that is active in Washington. Would it be to my association’s advantage to hire a consultant if we are already actively advocating our positions to policy makers?

A: Outside consulting and lobbying firms can provide your organization individualized strategy in line with the activity you’re already pursuing. We can provide greater opportunity for direct communication and influence on the policy process, and we can enlist new advocates on your behalf. Plus, an outside perspective on your issues will likely provide helpful insights and improve your overall strategy.

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Q: What kind of interaction can I expect between my government relations strategy firm, myself, and my organization?

A: You drive the project: based on your objectives we work with you to set ambitious – yet realistic – goals. Depending on the complexity of the engagement, you can expect to have phone conversations daily or several times per week and travel to Washington a few times per year to meet with key officials. Certain projects may demand more personal involvement, but we will always keep you abreast of our activities on your behalf here in Washington.

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Q: How does the government allocate taxpayer money, and how can my organization benefit?

A: The United States Government operates on a fiscal year beginning October 1 and ending September 30. For example, Fiscal Year 2007 begins on October 1, 2006 and ends on September 30, 2007. Each year the Congress must pass appropriations bills that spell out exactly how federal dollars will be spent by every department and agency beginning on October 1. These bills direct spending on everything from salaries of government employees, to major equipment acquisition programs, to federal grant programs. Most appropriations bills present opportunities for members of Congress to direct spending to particular projects or priorities. We can help your organization determine which federal programs are the most suitable for your objectives and execute a strategy – based on well-established timelines – to secure merit-based funding for worthy projects in the next fiscal year.

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Q: Does it matter to my organization’s advocacy efforts whether Democrats or Republicans control Congress or the White House?

A: The party in power in Congress sets the legislative agenda; the person in the White House sets policy priorities through an annual budget request and through the dozens of executive agencies. In these ways, the party in power in each institution does matter. But our efforts to advance our clients’ issues and concerns do not change, since our efforts are merit-based and provided to government on the basis of subject matter expertise. As much as Washington is about people and relationships, the one constant is process. We are experts in the process, and we maintain and create new relationships on both sides of the aisle constantly. Our ability to reach out to, inform, and connect with the right people at the right time – regardless of their party affiliation – is one of the reasons we have been methodically producing merit-based results for our clients amid eight years of continual change.

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