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Design a simplified & structured visual representation of targets & activities/concepts to help you see relationships & generate ideas.

Make a chart or diagram of the common targets of lobbies & interest groups. Include main lobbying activities & methods of influence.

You can also make separate diagrams for various areas of lobbying activity (such as issue/media advocacy, legislative, grassroots, etc). Use an "ethnic lobby" group to illustrate a plan of action.

Suggestions for a box-like diagram: Create a main box at the top. Beneath it add your targets (linked by arrows which can be labeled to described the method of action). You can add a second or third level of boxes.

Suggestions for a circle-type diagram: Create a main circle and label it. Link it with arrows to other circles that surround the main circle to show your targets (you can also use descriptive labels for each arrow to specify the type of action that can be taken for each target). These targets can be linked to additional surrounding circles that represent other activities & targets/goals. 


Civil society: The network of voluntary organizations and most NGO's (the term does not include governmental and for-profit organizations). These non-governmental organizations (which operate independently from government or the state) are voluntarily organized by members of society, and seek to take collective action in the interests of the public.

Lobbies: Often called “interest groups,” “special interest groups,”  and “pressure groups." SEE GLOSSARY FOR DETAILS

Ethnic lobbies: The Turkish, Greek, Armenian, and minority lobbies such as the Hispanic are often referred to as “ethnic lobbies.” These lobbies are often concerned with defamation, stereotypes, and disinformation (ex: Jewish, Arab, Turkish lobbies), and other issues that are of interest to minorities, such as discrimination (ex: Hispanic interest groups).

Interest groups:
An organized collection of people with similar concerns who join together for the purpose of influencing government policy. The term is used to refer to lobbying groups. Targets of these lobbying groups often include public opinion/the public, legislators, and the media. Different methods & tools are used to exert influence, such as media advocacy, coalition building with other groups, public relations, advertising, web site promotion, calls to action ("Action Alerts"), and letter writing campaigns. Fund-raising campaigns are

Special interest groups: The use of this term is often in a derogatory sense (negative, disapproving) due to a belief that such groups are more committed to their own goals than to the public good. Special interest groups seek to influence legislative or government policy to further what is often described as narrowly defined interests. Many advocates calling for lobbying reforms believe that present systems allow special interests to influence public policy in ways that can be dangerous. "Special interest groups" are also called "interest groups."

Pressure groups: A group of people with common interests who attempt to influence government policy and decisions in their favor. Pressure groups, like lobbies and special interest groups, promote their own ideas, agenda, and interests.

NGO, Non-governmental organization: An organization (often led by volunteers) with no fundamental ties to government which seeks to meet human and social needs, whose primary goal is not commercial. Through involvement in voluntary associations and the use of advanced communication technology, individuals are playing an increasingly important role in shaping the agenda and character of local and world politics. NGO's derive their dynamism from social participation and social cohesion, in a world that is becoming smaller and more diverse. Because of their increasing number, NGO's are playing an important role in the emergence of a global civil society. Although there is no internationally agreed definition of the concept of a "global civil society," the impact of  their transnational activity has clearly been felt within the United Nations and European Union, as NGO activity acquires global political significance and shapes the development of societies, individual attitudes, and behavior.

Non-profit organization: An organization, foundation or endowment, whose activities are not for the purpose of making a profit. These organizations play a vital role in fulfilling community needs that are not met by commercial enterprises (private sector) or governmental entities (public sector). Leaders and staff are often non-paid volunteers. These organizations may be entirely funded by voluntary donations and often give grants. In the U.S. most non-profit philanthropic and voluntary organizations have a tax exempt status, often noted in their mission statements, for example: possessing tax code numbers 501 (c)(3) and (4) or 527. Lobbying is permitted to definable limits, and thus non-profit organizations can be part of the legislative process, but can not participate in the political election of candidates. Also known as "not-for-profit," or "non-profit."

Media advocacy (issue advocacy): Media advocacy seeks to use the media to influence public opinion and generate public awareness of an issue, cause, or matter of particular concern to an individual, group, or organization (the issue is often a subject of controversy). Media advocacy is the strategic use of media as a resource for advancing a social or public policy initiative. Media advocacy can also be called issue advocacy.

Influence: The act, power, or capacity of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force (sometimes using power, credibility, emotional appeal, money, or even disinformation).

Persuasion: The process of influencing attitudes, beliefs, values, and behavior. The act or ability to move by argument (to convince) a person to support a belief, a position, or to take a course of action. To urge or convince by using sound arguments (ex: the public can be persuaded and influenced by effective marketing strategies, or public relations).

Advocate: Someone who gives active support and who argues in favor of a particular cause, course of action, or set of beliefs.

Advocacy: The act of arguing in favor of a particular point of view, or action. Advocacy means being a voice on issues that matter to people. The term lobbying is sometimes used to mean advocacy of a point of view, either by groups or individuals.

Advocacy group: An organization arguing in favor of a particular political agenda or point of view.

Public interest: The common interests of the community, nation, or society as a whole. Can be described as the "common good," "national interest," "public good," or "general welfare." Some groups seek to make the political system more responsive to the citizens of a country, rather than to the pressures and demands of  “special interest groups.” As a result, “public interest groups” have arisen to protect and represent the general "public interest" and to serve as a counter balancing force to lobbies. The aim of public interest groups is to lobby for the people.

Citizens' groups (watchdogs): These groups can function as "public interest groups," or as a "citizens' group" that seeks to further the collective good without benefiting their own members. They seek to secure political objectives which are in the interests of people other than themselves. They are also like lobbies because they can function as a pressure group. Citizens' groups often attempt to help society as a whole, acting as advocates on behalf of the public and as watchdogs. Some watchdog groups monitor governmental agencies, the media, and numerous industries (such as defense, tobacco, or pharmaceutical).  Individuals who uncover violations of regulations, or unacceptable behavior, are often called "whistle-blowers." Ethnic groups, lobbies, anti-defamation organizations, and minorities have also created watchdog groups to monitor the media, legislative issues, and competing interest groups in order to defend their interests

Code of ethics: The values, fairness, and ethical conduct of organizations, lobbies, institutions, and people. Codes of ethics and legislation that regulate lobbying in the U.S. Congress and EU institutions are being debated in 2006, along with reforms, and new regulations for lobbyists.

Public affairs: The dissemination of information, or conducting PR activities, by government agencies or corporations. Public affairs is also work done in the area of community relations. Public affairs seeks to develop effective involvement in public policy and can help an organization adapt to public expectations.

Public dialogue: The civil exchange of ideas and opinions among communities about topics that affect the public.

Public diplomacy: Government-sponsored programs intended to inform or influence public opinion in other countries (mainly through the use of films, cultural exchanges, radio and television. Public diplomacy plays an important role in foreign affairs, in supporting the foreign policies of a country, and in safeguarding and advancing the interests of a country. Official government efforts aim to shape the communications environment around the world in order to reduce the degree to which misperceptions and misunderstandings complicate a countries relations with other nations. Central to public diplomacy is the transnational flow of information and ideas. Public diplomacy is sometimes called propaganda. Related terms: public affairs. (Note: ministries of culture, as well as institutions such as the Alliance Francaise, British Council, Goethe Institute, Cervantes Instituto, can be considered actors in public diplomacy).

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* Think about why your projects are important as an exercise of effective communication & persuasion.

* Make a list of activities that various lobbies & NGO's are involved in.
   What common aims do they have? Why are some more effective than others?

* Provide examples for the above concepts & related terms. How are they interrelated?

Interest group common concerns, activities & goals:

Monitor laws & legislative bodies
Work to initiate, support, or defeat bills (legislation, laws)
Contact officials, policy-makers, legislators
Provide expertise to decision-makers
Research opposing views
Lobby legislators using different lobbying strategies (direct/face-to-face, indirect, multidirectional)
Defend the interests of the group (agree on what is & what is not in the group's interest)
Create a "Master-Plan" and strategy of strategic communications for being influential & effective
Media advocacy & contact members of the media
Monitor the media
Monitor other lobbies & opposing interests groups
Encourage supporters to contact & write to their elected representatives
Encourage supporters to register to vote & participate in the political system
Voter education & mobilization
Grassroots lobbying
Public & community service
Coordinate "Calls to Action" and issue "Action Alerts"
Educate members on "How to Get Involved" ( NOW! )
Plan campaigns for fund-raising, letter writing, demonstrations...
Provide guidance for activists
Present sample letters
Provide addresses of legislators & editors
Advertise, make announcements...
Public relations, publicity
Issue press releases
Distribute press kits
Polls, surveys, monitor public opinion and attitudes
Keep track of new lobbying laws & reforms
Take initiative, gather signatures for a petition
Web site development
Use emerging technologies , databases, mailing lists...
Acquire corporate sponsors
Special events
Donations & other contributions
Volunteer recruitment
Ethical conduct
Keeping members & supporters motivated & committed
Obtain & offer legal advice
Take legal action on behalf of the group
Coalition building
Develop relationships with watchdog organizations
Develop relationships with citizens' groups working for the public interest
Advocate public policy positions in the interests of the coalition
Combat discrimination, hate crimes, defamation, stereotyping
Interfaith initiatives
Promote universal values & human rights for all
Provide leadership training, leadership awards, leadership development, scholarships
Jobs & internships
Outreach programs
Conduct research on emerging issues
Organize conferences, seminars, speakers programs, awards programs...
Publications, Newsletters, DVDs, documentaries, films...
Crisis management teams to respond to emerging news & developments
Train & recruit staff to find additional volunteers with specialized skills
Identify, prioritize & target new audiences, with guidance on how to communicate with foreign audiences

"Ethnic lobby" concerns & goals:

Protect the rights of the the ethnic group at the local, state, and federal levels
Defend the interests of the group (agree on what is & what is not in the group's interest)
Provide "expertise," information, and specialist knowledge to lawmakers (and educate the public)
Provide support and financial backing for
the ethnic lobby's candidates who run for public office
Encourage electoral participation & voter registration in their communities
Provide information to the government, educational institutions, & the media on positions taken by the ethnic lobby

Maintain & improve relations, friendship & goodwill between the country where they live & country of their origin (1)
Help to develop trade, educational, scientific, and other bilateral relations with their country of origin

Monitor biased media coverage
Take legal action on behalf of the group
Monitor & research the opposing positions of other lobbies (the pros & cons of debates & influential arguments)
Congressional voting analysis (of each member of Congress)
Advocacy training
(focus on public speaking & help write speeches, along with letters, for citizen lobbyists)
Promote the ethnic group's shared heritage
Honor the common identity which binds them (based on language, culture, religion, historical experiences, etc)
Image building, image making
Promote shared history with their country of origin (alliances, security concerns, religious traditions, etc)
Provide information about the history of their community
Provide information about how their community has made contributions to society
Promote famous & distinguished individuals from their community
Monitor the foreign policy of the country they are a citizen of, or living in (& other issues, such as foreign aid)
Monitor international affairs (economic & security concerns of their country of origin)
Market products from their country of origin that appeal to the ethnic community and/or to the general public
Follow political developments in their country of origin
Call for policies which are in the interests of their country of origin
Evaluate strengths & weaknesses of the group, effective strategies, progress, successes & failures
Enhance relations with other communities & interest groups
Coalition building with other minorities in order to take collective action to protect civil rights
Fight defamation & stereotyping (m
onitor for racist stereotypes in film & television, conduct fact-checking)
Cooperate with law enforcement officials
Work with NGOs & mobilize support from civil society
Outreach programs & work to serve the needs of their community
Holiday celebrations
Concerts, food festivals, parades, that celebrate & focus on their heritage
Publishing directories (with stores, travel agents, language classes, & products of interest to the ethnic group)
Monitor library books & public information
Advise on taking safety precautions against violence, threats, potential destruction to property or vandalism
Conduct studies on demographics (examine census data)
Immigration advice & information on immigration policies
Participation in congressional testimony
Participation in international activities
Monitor U.S. counter-terrorism policies & proposals
Work to protect the rights & freedoms of their ethnic communities around the world
Enlist American power, European Union support, or other influence/power to protect the interests of their communities around the world
Create c
risis management teams which rapidly respond as news unfolds
Identify, prioritize & target new audiences around the world (including those of opposing views)
Train & recruit staff to find additional volunteers with specialized skills (this can also be done online)
Expand activities through the creation of larger networks (for grassroots activities, special events, etc)
Encourage small or large donations to be made over the Internet on secure web sites
Create a center dedicated to full-time study of all issues related to the above

(1) or ancestral homeland

WEB SITES - Study the basic activities & objectives of the following interest groups:
(Mission Statements / About Us / Who We Are)

Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Washington, DC  www.ataa.org
Federation of Turkish American Associations, New York  www.ftaa.org
Jewish Anti-Defamation League  www.adl.org
American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee  www.adc.com   
Muslim Public Affairs Council  www.mpac.org
Albanian American Civil League  www.aacl.com
Hispanic-American, National Council of La Raza  www.nclr.org
Armenian Assembly of America  www.aaainc.org
Greek-American, American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) www.ahepa.org
National Italian American Foundation  www.niaf.org
American Civil Liberties Union  www.aclu.org


How can civil society within each nation-state develop more democratic, fairer, and just methods of conducting internal & external affairs?

Consider how technology is empowering individuals & how world politics is changing in the global information age. Take into consideration the impact of the emergence of an "international civil society." Where is there agreement/disagreement on common interests, national interests, and when do conflicts of interest arise? What are the consequences of the increasing flow and exchange of ideas and cultural values? Are supranational powers (European Union, United Nations, World Trade Organization, etc.) being strengthened or weakened? What role does rapid communication, travel, tourism, invention, trade, multinational corporations, and nationalism play? What impact will interest groups have in the emerging era of globalization?

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