Research Initiative on Nonprofit Advocacy
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Institutional Online Resources for Nonprofit Advocacy

The Nonprofit Advocacy Initiative has compiled a list of organizations that are involved with the study and promotion of nonprofit advocacy. The organizations are presented in five main categories: academic centers, foundations, government agencies, think tank groups, and other nonprofit organizations. By visiting their Web sites, users can access papers, research studies, bibliographies, and other resources related to the role, regulation, practice, and impact of nonprofit advocacy in the United States.

Disclaimer: The views expressed on the Web sites listed below should not be attributed to the nonpartisan Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

 Academic Centers

Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania

The Annenberg Public Policy Center conducts research in four main topic areas: information and society, media and the developing mind, media and the dialogue of democracy, and health communication. The Center has published several reports on the role of the media and the level of the public engagement in public affairs.

Brandeis University Civic Practices Network

The Civic Practices Network is a project led by Brandeis University's Center for Human Resources at the Heller School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare. The project provides online information with case studies, stories, and other materials about civic education, responsible community action, and democratic policymaking.

Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law

The Brennan Center focuses its work on three areas: democracy, income inequality, and protection of First Amendment rights. The Center has conducted several studies on campaign finance reform, judicial independence, voter choice, and voting and representation.

City University of New York: Center for the Study of Philanthropy

The Center for the Study of Philanthropy administers the Global Network on Women's Advocacy and Civil Society. The Network disseminates information on women's issues among research centers, nonprofit organizations, and advocacy groups. Network users have access to an active bibliography of resources, a discussion listserv, and other research studies.

Harvard University: Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations

The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations is part of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The Center's research and education activities promote understanding of the nonprofit sector and its role in helping society define and achieve the common good.

Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies: Center for Civil Society Studies

The Center for Civil Society focuses its research on the nonprofit sector and civil society in the United States and abroad. It also examines the ways in which the sector can help solve social problems.

New York University School of Law: National Center on Philanthropy and the Law

The National Center on Philanthropy and the Law sponsors research and conducts conferences and discussion forums on issues that affect the nonprofit sector in America. The Center also publishes materials on nonprofit legal issues.

Tufts University: Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs

The Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs develops educational and research activities to promote the role of the nonprofit, voluntary, and philanthropic sector. Through its National Focus on Citizenship and Democracy program, the Center promotes nonprofit organizations as vehicles for public participation. Currently, the Center and OMB Watch (listed below) are conducting a project to identify and understand the factors that influence the level of participation of nonprofit organizations in the public policy process.

Union Institute: Center for Public Policy

The Center for Public Policy is currently developing the Nonprofit Leadership and Democracy Project. The project studies the role of the nonprofit sector in strengthening civil society, fostering democracy, and advancing advocacy and other avenues for social justice. The Center's Web site has a collection of papers on nonprofit advocacy and democracy.

University of Maryland: Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy

The Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy has studied the American political system and its tendencies to support or impede public participation. Some research studies have focused on campaign finance, the influence of political consultants in elections, and the role of public deliberation in policymaking.

University of Minnesota: Center for Democracy and Citizenship

The Center for Democracy and Citizenship focuses primarily on the impact of civic participation in the policy process. The Center has developed projects that promote civic engagement and build democracy at the local and state levels.

 Independent Research Organziations

Aspen Institute: The Nonprofit Research Fund

The Aspen Institute funds research to increase the understanding of the nonprofit sector. Nonprofit advocacy and civic participation is one of the research areas of interest for the Nonprofit Research Fund. Research briefings, working papers, and other publications on nonprofit advocacy can be accessed through the Web.

Brookings Institution

The Brookings Institution conducts analytical research on three main fields: emerging economic policy, foreign policy, and government and the policymaking process. Brookings has published several reports on civic engagement, campaign finance reform, and Internet voting.

Committee for Economic Development

The Committee for Economic Development is an association of business leaders dedicated to policy research on economic and social issues. The Committee is currently developing projects on campaign finance reform, education and child care, and welfare reform.

Urban Institute - The Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy

The Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (CNP) explores the role and impact of nonprofit organizations and philanthropy in democratic societies. CNP is developing the Nonprofit Advocacy Initiative, a five-year project that brings together people and institutions with diverse expertise to examine how the advocacy activities of nonprofit organizations affect public attitudes and civic participation, political discourse, public policy, and social change.


Benton Foundation

The Benton Foundation supports the use of communication/technology that helps organize people to solve social problems. The Foundation focuses on three interdependent areas: legislative and regulatory policy on communications, technologies, and nonprofit organizations communication practices. The Foundation has built various Web sites with annotated and organized information about nonprofit organizations working on children's, arts, community health, and political campaign issues.

Carnegie Corporation of New York

The Carnegie Corporation supports initiatives that increase public understanding of major social policy issues and foster the public's active participation in political and civic life.

Pew Charitable Trusts

The Pew Charitable Trusts dedicates a portion of its grantmaking budget to increasing citizen participation and citizen confidence in government elections and democratic processes.

The Ford Foundation

A main goal of the Ford Foundation is to strengthen democratic values by increasing citizen participation, monitoring governmental performance, and supporting the philanthropic sector. The Ford Foundation is providing support to the Nonprofit Advocacy Initiative, led by the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy, to study how the advocacy activities of nonprofit organizations affect public attitudes and civic participation, political discourse, public policy, and social change.

Foundation for Child Development

The Foundation for Child Development supports research to examine the roles, effectiveness and potential of child advocacy organizations, especially their potential to bring about beneficial policy choices for children.

Nathan Cummings Foundation

The Nathan Cummings Foundation's programs focus on three main areas: arts, environment, and health care. The Foundation has created an interprogram initiative to strengthen the nonprofit sector in the 21st century.

Surdna Foundation, Inc.

The Surdna Foundation supports initiatives in the following areas: the environment, community revitalization, effective citizenry, the arts, and the nonprofit sector support program. The Foundation's Nonprofit Sector Initiative is designed to support research activities to increase knowledge regarding the nonprofit sector and its contribution in American communities.

 Other Nonprofit Organizations

This category includes information about nonprofit organizations developing technical assistance and training on advocacy and interest groups lists.

Technical Assistance and Training

Advocacy Institute

The Advocacy Institute focuses on advocacy leadership development, movement building, strategy development and analysis, and advocacy skills building among others. The Institute develops projects in two main areas: capacity building and tobacco control.

Alliance for Justice

The Alliance for Justice is a national association of advocacy organizations dedicated to securing access to justice, strengthening the public interest community, and developing the next generation of advocates. The organization offers training, produces materials, and gives technical assistance to nonprofit organizations through the Nonprofit Advocacy Project.

Charity Lobbying in the Public Interest

The Charity Lobbying in the Public Interest is a project of INDEPENDENT SECTOR. The project's main goal is to educate charitable organizations about the role lobbying can play in achieving their missions. The project's Web site contains information about laws, guidelines, and the benefits of lobbying.

OMB Watch

OMB Watch is a nonprofit research, educational, and advocacy organization that focuses on budget, regulatory, and nonprofit advocacy and information policy. OMB Watch and the Lincoln Filene Center for Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University are conducting a study to identify and better understand the factors that affect nonprofit organizations' participation in the public policy process. OMB Watch is also part of the coalition Let America Speak, a coalition that works to defend the advocacy rights of America's nonprofit organizations.

Interest Groups

Interest groups are a portion of the nonprofit sector and work to articulate positions on social issues and influence the policy agenda. The following Web sites offer annotated interest groups directories:


Federal Election Commission

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) discloses campaign finance information, determines limits and prohibitions on contributions, and oversees the public funding for presidential elections. FEC's Web site contains guidelines for citizens' participation in federal elections.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

The IRS Web site contains technical guidelines about the procedures and requirements nonprofit advocacy organizations should follow in developing their activities.

Please let us know if your organization is involved with nonprofit advocacy, so we can link to your Web site.

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