We all associate lobbying with corruption and corporations taking over the government. That is certainly part of the lobbying world, but when the media talks divisively about special interests, we need to remember that there are different types of interest groups out there ranging from large tobacco companies to the homeless and disabled.
Basically, any interest that is not shared by all Americans is special. These interests need a voice in DC.
Since we have vilified lobbying in the nonprofit sector as one of the main causes of bad legislation, it is hard to use the same word to describe the activity needed to counter balance and fight for better legislation.
Perhaps “lobbying” is the wrong frame. Does the activity boil down to roles of fighting or advocating? These imply a need to overcome, which, in turn, imply and adversarial role. Shouldn’t lobbying be more about partnering to increase legislative effectiveness?
If so, shouldn’t the label used when a nonprofit engages in such activities be more of a policy liaison role? Still, something about that doesn’t seem strong enough to me. “Liaison” is too passive of language.
Any ideas on how we can better frame and label lobbying activities so that it seems more appropriate for the nonprofit sector?