When the Susan G. Komen foundation pulled funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast exam program, the public uproar brought new focus to the high political and economic stakes faced by nonprofit organizations. The missions of 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) organizations, political action committees, and now Super PACs have become blurred as issues of advocacy and political influence have become increasingly entangled.
Questions abound: Should a nonprofit advocate for its mission and its constituents with a goal of affecting public policy? What are the limits of such advocacy work? Will such efforts fundamentally jeopardize nonprofit work? What can studies of nonprofit advocacy efforts reveal? Editors Robert J. Pekkanen, Steven Rathgeb Smith, and Yutaka Tsujinaka recognize the urgent need for relevant research and insight into these issues as direct and indirect government services are squeezed by federal cutbacks.
Nonprofits and Advocacy defines advocacy and clarifies the differences among advocacy, lobbying, political activity, and education, as well as advocacy measurements. Providing original empirical data and innovative theoretical arguments, this comparative study is organized into two parts. The first part focuses on local and national dimensions of nonprofit advocacy, and the second part looks at organizational politics and strategies. The conclusion considers basic questions about nonprofit advocacy and seeks to draw lessons from research efforts and practice.
Providing a critical look at the multidimensional roles and advocacy efforts of nonprofits, this volume will be valued by scholars, students, leaders, and activists—many of whom advocate for the interests of their organizations while delivering services to the same group of constituents. The research is also relevant for policymakers involved in cross-sector public policy initiatives as they strive to provide more efficient public-private solutions to challenging governance issues.