Appropriations Planning Insights from Principal Michael Bain


With Capitol Hill’s current political turmoil and lack of progress on “must pass” legislation, Washington’s focus is very much on navigating the next two months. However, while next year’s appropriations process may feel over the horizon, now is the right time for organizations to develop Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) appropriations requests to put their best foot forward and optimize outcomes.

Below are key considerations for corporate leaders and government affairs professionals as they look to plan for the upcoming appropriations cycle.


The federal appropriations process follows a relatively routine, predictable annual cycle to pass 12 bills that provide funding and guidance to nearly every federal executive branch department and agency. This presents reliable legislative vehicles to pursue federal funding opportunities, develop new federal programs and initiatives, and influence agency action through targeted report language.

Because the Congressional appropriations cycle begins with the release of the President’s Budget following the State of the Union address, it is important that organizations are ready at that time to submit and advocate for well-developed requests.

Beginning the planning process in the fall, including aligning business and research teams, government affairs teams, and executives on appropriations priorities is key to developing meaningful requests. Honing requests in the fall also allows adequate time to coordinate with relevant executive branch agencies and congressional supporters in advance of the appropriations crunch time that begins in late winter.


For organizations that are new to the appropriations process, planning well in advance of appropriations season is particularly important. The initial, internal planning process often requires developing basic materials from the ground up, such as drafting one-pagers and leave behind materials, as well as holding meetings with the business team and relevant subject matter experts to understand priorities and capabilities and how they intersect with federal programs. Ultimately this must be translated into a funding or report language request.

Additionally, brand building on Capitol Hill and in the Administration in advance of making an appropriations request is more important for less known entities and requires additional lead time to facilitate impactful meetings and discussions, and to incorporate feedback into an eventual request. Among other considerations, organizations will need to understand their relationships, prior outreach, geographic footprint, and the political and policy landscape to develop an effective engagement strategy.


Organizations with prior year appropriations requests have an opportunity to evaluate their appropriations priorities and refine future years’ requests based on outcomes and agency direction. This includes pursuing follow-on funding, drafting legislative and report language, reprioritizing programs or issues, or expanding to new agencies or work streams. Additionally, early planning provides opportunities to broaden the base of support, on a bipartisan basis, for an issue or request beyond usual Congressional leads. This is particularly important given the volume of requests and competing priorities that members receive.

There are numerous other considerations that are factored on a case-by-case basis that can improve an organization’s competitiveness in the appropriations process. For example, organizations often experience success when they partner with other companies or universities on joint initiatives, expanding their base of support as well as their offerings.

GuidePost Strategies is heavily involved in advising and advocating on appropriations legislation for clients, and we stand ready to advise on specific opportunities and initiatives. If you have any questions concerning the material discussed, please contact a member of our team.

This insight was provided by Michael Bain, Principal of GuidePost Strategies.

For more information, please contact GuidePost Strategies.

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