Monday, 9 September 2013

Lobbying or Advocacy?

Further to an article referred to earlier:
Futures Forum: Concerns for campaigning: Lobbying Bill next stage
Why gagging charities is consistent with the Big Society | Notes from a Broken Society

the question was raised that:
Advocacy challenges prevailing power relations and undermines the idea that getting on in life is a matter of individual effort and character;  the language of the political class in Britain in 2013 is profoundly opposed to what advocacy means.

Advocacy is a political process by an individual or group which aims to influence public-policy and resource allocation decisions within political, economic, and social systems and institutions. Advocacy can include many activities that a person or organization undertakes including media campaigns, public speaking, commissioning and publishing research or polls or the filing of an amicus briefLobbying (often by lobby groups) is a form of advocacy where a direct approach is made to legislators on an issue which plays a significant role in modern politics.[1] Research is beginning to explore how advocacy groups in the U.S.[2] and Canada[3] are using social media to facilitate civic engagement and collective action.
Advocacy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What is Public Affairs? PAW embraces a very broad definition of what Public Affairs means. There is a substantial literature regarding its “definition”. Suffice to say PAW content covers Lobbying, Government Relations, Public Affairs, Public Policy, Issues Management, Stakeholder Relations, External Affairs, Corporate Communications, Single Issue Campaigning, Media Relations, Social Marketing and political debate. It does not intend to cover areas such as Marketing, Consumer PR and Advertising.
Front | Public Affairs World

Advocacy Is Not a Dirty Word

by Brian Gumm, 10/30/2007

By Gary D. Bass, OMB Watch
Published in the November 1, 2007 edition of The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Reprinted with permission
Lobbying has increasingly become a dirty word. It is associated with backroom deals negotiated by those with lots of money. It is unseemly, made all the more ugly by the likes of the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Yet Americans have fought wars to defend our constitutional right to lobby. The First Amendment says it is "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." It is among the most cherished of democratic principles: the right to organize and advocate for policy changes.
In new research about charity advocacy conducted by Tufts University, the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest, and my organization, OMB Watch, many charity leaders agree that being a policy advocate is a key responsibility of being an executive director. Echoing a refrain heard around the country, an executive director of a small human-services organization in the Northeast noted, "I try to sit on as many committees and commissions as possible so I can try to influence public policy."
Our research finds that while more than eight out of 10 charities surveyed say they have either lobbied or testified before a governmental body, most of them do so infrequently. For example, 69 percent of surveyed charities say either they never do direct lobbying or they do so rarely.

Advocacy Is Not a Dirty Word | Center for Effective Government

Lobbying vs Advocacy
Advocacy and lobbying are two very good ways for people, communities, and organizations to make their voices heard by those who matter. These also happen to be ways that are used by nonprofit organizations, to show to the authorities how communities are impacted in a positive or negative manner by their policies. Advocacy and lobbying are very similar in nature, so much so that often people make the mistake of using these words interchangeably. However, despite all the similarities and overlap, the fact remains that there are differences between lobbying and advocacy and it is these differences that will be highlighted in this article.

In a democratic set up, there are always pressure groups that are also known as advocacy groups. These groups continuously work to influence the opinion of public, as well as law makers. These groups come in different shapes and sizes ranging from a single man voice to a large organization. There are also differences in motives with some advocacy groups working to change the socio-political equation while others have small, petty motives to further their own interests.
There are many different ways in which pressure groups act or behave. They may simply question a particular law or policy of the government, take part in discussions to set an agenda rolling, challenge a political system saying it is inadequate, give a clarion call for change, and so on. All advocacy groups try to influence the opinion of the government of the day. Important point to note is that a pressure group is no longer active when its advocates are themselves in power. Some good examples of advocacy groups are associations of professionals, trade unions, caste affiliations, associations of consumers, and so on.

Lobbying is attempting to influence the opinion of the lawmakers. This is a brazen attempt to get changes in legislation made by creating pressure on the officers inside the government. Lobbying is mostly done by organizations and big corporations though lobbying may be done by a pressure group in the constituency of a legislator too.
Lobbying is specifically aimed at changing the opinions of legislators in favor of a particular law. It could be direct lobbying where the legislators are contacted directly, or it could be grassroots lobbying where the public opinions are brought to work upon the minds of legislators.

What is the difference between Lobbying and Advocacy?
• Advocacy is a broader term while lobbying is a type of advocacy.
• Lobbying is, in fact, advocacy that attempts to influence the opinions of the legislators or those who are in the government.
• Demonstrations, sit-ins, marches, rallies etc. are forms of advocacy in support of demands of diverse groups.
• We often hear about strong gun lobby, tobacco lobby, and alcohol lobby working all the time to have laws made in their favor.
• While the goals of advocacy may be similar to those of lobbying, the methods employed by the two groups are different.

In other words, 'advocacy' is about 'civic engagement' and 'collective action':
Advocacy 2.0: An Analysis of How Advocacy Groups in the United States Perceive and Use Social Media as Tools for Facilitating Civic Engagement and Collective Action by Jonathan A. Obar, Paul Zube, Cliff Lampe :: SSRN

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