Date of Award

4-1996

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Ralph Clark Chandler

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Reding

Third Advisor

Dr. Edward J. Pawlak

Abstract

Executive directors of nonprofit organizations were interviewed to determine their lobbying practices. Direct lobbying and grassroots lobbying, as defined by P. A. 94-455 were studied. Independent variables include: (a) formal organizational support, (b) organizational affiliation, (c) organizational characteristics, and (d) the executive directors' perceptions and demographic characteristics.

Data were collected during semi-standardized interviews. A random sample of 50 executive directors of nonprofit organizations in Michigan was selected. The research shows that executive directors of nonprofit organizations do lobby policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels using the following techniques: (a) face-to-face visits, individually or with coalitions, including providing oral and written testimony at hearings; (b) telephone calls; (c) letters and facsimile transmissions; (d) special events at the capital; and (e) coalition meetings in the community. Respondents reported value conflicts in lobbying related to personal versus organizational positions and the selective use of information. Executives advised that it is critical to establish relationships with policy makers long before they are asked for anything. It is also important to create and maintain credibility by being knowledgeable in the field, providing education, information, and services in a professional and timely manner, being visible, and keeping commitments. Ten independent variables did not have a statistically significant association with any lobbying techniques. Among these ten independent variables are: (a) age, gender, educational level, and time in position o f the executive director; (b) the organization as a sole provider of service; (c) age of the organization; (d) the field of the service of the organization; (e) board member participation in lobbying; (f) the size of the organization’s budget; and (g) the legislative or political action committees of the board.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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