Nonprofit Participation In The Public Policy Process

650 words - 3 pages

In time of restricted state budgets and cuts in government services to those most in need, nonprofit participation in the public policy process has never been more essential. (cf. Shure 2009: 20) In this sense, NPOs provide public leaders with insights about com-munity interests. Consequently, NPOs hold government accountable to a broad public, present the diverse values reflected in society, and advance issues that are not otherwise addressed. Furthermore, they are vehicle through which many members of the society have a voice in the policy and political process. In fact, the continued existence of many programs and services highly depends on partnering with legislators to propose policies that embody these innovative solutions.
In other words, lobbying, advocacy and organizing can be adequate methods to influence policymakers. Thus, we may ask the question about the meaning of advocacy, lobbying and organizing. (1) Advocacy is the general support for an idea or issue. (2) Nonprofit lobbying involves asking an elected official to take a particular position on a specific legislative proposal. There are two forms of lobbying in existence: direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying. (3) Organizing is the ability to understand who is likely to support the issues and positions that the nonprofit leader champion and to engage people and institutions in working with the nonprofit leader. (cf. Avner 2010: 348)
Why should NPOs lobby and advocate? Firstly, trying to manage the external en-vironment, a NPO can position itself as the lead organization in an issue area, and it can secure its own place in leadership circles. In addition, advocacy can make a great differ-ence in the NPO’s ability to serve people well for the long term. (cf. ibid.: 373) Secondly, NPOs have the opportunity and responsibility to engage in democracy-supporting activi-ties. In this context, nonprofit executives and board members need to recognize that lob-bying is legal and encouraged. The law is absolutely clear about the...

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