What is CrowdLobby?
CrowdLobby allows you to submit or browse legislation changes that you want to see happen. If it passes Crowdlobby's simple guidelines it will be uploaded onto the website with a target funding amount. It is then the job of the American people to back these legislative changes with small contributions. When the target is reached CrowdLobby hires a lobbyist with the funds to fight for the legislative change, keeping you in the know throughout the process.
How it Works
1. You choose whether you would like to look at state or federal issues.
2. You choose an issue you care about.
3. You read about the current situation and plan of attack.
4. You contribute to the causes you care about
5. Once the target is reached we go and hire a lobbyist on all your behalf!
Once a lobbyist is hired, your campaign begins! Throughout the lobbying campaign, you will receive regular updates from your lobbyist, as well as opportunities to engage in the lobbying process.
- Heidi is fun-loving and hard-working, with a fiery entrepreneurial spirit. She is a graduate of American University (BS in Political Science), University of Richmond School of Law (JD), and the University of Richmond Robins School of Business (MBA). Heidi has experience at the White House, the Virginia Attorney General's Office, and on the campaign trail. Most importantly, she has experience in the lobbying world through her work as an extern, where she took a hard look at the lobbying industry and saw an opportunity for change.
- Sam is a part-time entrepreneur and full-time aspiring chef. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University (BA in International Studies and BS in Anthropology) and the University of Richmond School of Law (JD). She has spent most of her professional career working for nonprofits like AmeriCorps, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Southern Environmental Law Center, among others. Knowing the ins and outs and limitations of the nonprofit world, Sam comes to this project eager to find an effective avenue to make a difference.
Our one-of-a-kind stickers!
For as little as a $25 contribution, you can get your hands on our limited edition "Uncle Sam" Poster!
A 50$ contribution gets you our limited edition CrowdLobby shirt, which has been spotted all around the world!
Awards & News Coverage
In October 2017, CrowdLobby, LLC was named one of 'RVA's Companies to Watch' by Venture Forum RVA, a group that supports entrepreneurs and startup businesses in the Richmond region.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Why the Kickstarter?
Last year, CrowdLobby launched a beta website that catered to state-level issues. We quickly realized that in order to showcase CrowdLobby to the country, we would need a new iteration of the website that can provide access to federal politics and all 50 states! In order to build it, we realized we would need to raise $35,000. We considered private investors, but quickly realized how ironic it would be to fund the People's platform with a few people's money - so now we turn to the Crowd! We plan to use the Kickstarter to raise the funds for the next iteration of our website, while also proving that our concept can build a following. We will use the funds from the Kickstarter to build the next iteration of the website over the summer and plan to release it to the public before this year's Midterm elections!
The American government is beholden to corporate and special interests. Each year, more and more laws fall prey to the will of corporations over those of the American people. Corporations and special interests maintain their grip on our political system through political contributions and lobbying. We want to give the American people access to lobbying, by pooling together lots of small contributions for issues that We the People care about! Through crowdfunding, we can pool our money and power together and have a lobbyist represent us! It's time that We the People were properly represented.
Why lobbying? Lobbyists give their clients access and professional representation. On average, 50% of Senators and 42% of Representatives become lobbyists after their term ends. Not to mention firms that hire children, siblings, friends, and coworkers of politicians! We may not think that kind of access is fair, but we can utilize it for the People's issues. Most Americans don't have the time or money to spend every day in the halls of our governments, which is why lobbyists exist, to be the ones who show up day after day to advocate specific issues.
How are issues chosen? CrowdLobby is an apolitical company that has no political affiliation. Any interested person can submit an issue using our platform. After the campaign is submitted, our team vets it using three specific criteria:
1. It must not have any discriminatory impact. We will not go live with campaigns that maliciously target an individual or a group.
2. It must be a specific, attainable legislative fix that can be implemented by a legislature. Government is inherently fickle, so we will only seek specific legislative goals.
3. It must have the support of at least 50% of the community that it impacts. Public polling (and eventually internal polling) must demonstrate that at least 50% of the local population is in favor of the legislative change (i.e. A Virginia law must be backed by 50% of the voting population of Virginia from all sides of the political spectrum). This guarantees that we are implementing the People's wishes and also guaranteeing that any campaign is locally supported.
How does CrowdLobby hire a lobbyist? Anyone can hire a lobbyist. All you need is money and an issue you care about. The service, however, is very expensive - which is where CrowdLobby comes in. Some issues are more nuanced and require a lobbyist with a specific area of expertise. In any case, CrowdLobby will find and hire the most effective representative for your campaign.
What happens if a campaign does not meet its funding goal? If an issue does not reach it’s funding goal, then a lobbyist won’t be hired. If you contributed to that issue, your money will be returned. You’ll also have the opportunity to choose another issue to put the money towards.
What happens after you contribute? After you contribute, you’ll have the opportunity to opt into our update system. We will keep you apprised of what’s happening in the legislature and how your issue is moving along. Eventually, we would like to set up a system in which we can interact with our contributors and receive feedback about the direction of our campaigns.
Is CrowdLobby a nonprofit? No. Lobbying regulations are very strict on nonprofits (rightfully so!) and would make our business impossible as a nonprofit. Because of these restrictions, we operate as an LLC, but are a mission-driven company.
Risks and challenges
Brand New Industry - Crowdfunded lobbying is a new concept for most Americans. For our idea to succeed, we need to educate Americans about lobbying and the potential it has to give the people power in their government, rather than corporations and special interests!
Negative Impressions of Lobbying
Government is inherently unpredictable - No matter how much money is raised, CrowdLobby can never guarantee that any specific piece of legislation will pass or fail.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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