Gen, Sheldon, & Amy Conley Wright (2020, August). Nonprofits in policy advocacy: Their strategies and stories (Foreword by Margaret Brodkin). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan/Springer Nature. ISBN: 978-3-030-43695-7, eISBN: 978-3-030-43696-4. $31.49 Kindle ed. (via Amazon), $24.99 (via Springer:

Overview: This book elaborates on the characteristics of strategies adopted by U.S. nonprofit organizations that advocate for various policies. The six separate strategies are Q factors based on Q sorts (N=24 statements) obtained from n=31 organization managers, each of six chapters being devoted to case studies of the strategies –– ranging along a spectrum from attempts to influence formal policy actors to grassroots citizens –– and the organizations that employ them. According to the authors, “The resulting factors identify unique viewpoints of nonprofit organizations on the processes of policy change and how they seek to influence those processes. Our interpretation of the factors compares them to existing theories in policy studies.” Results are also reported of a questionnaire administered to 811 nonprofit organizations. Within the Q sample are strategic opinions such as the following:

  • Developing messages, framing issues, labeling, and other strategies of rhetoric can change policymakers’ views.
  • Building coalitions and networks with like-minded organizations and individuals can change the public’s views.
  • Using the media to disseminate information can change the public’s views.
  • Research and analyses can change policymakers’ views.
  • Litigation can change policy.
  • Changes in the public’s views can change policymakers’ views.

Methodological steps are presented in Chapter 2, “Tactics and Strategies” (pp. 23-44), followed by the six chapters focused on each of the strategy-factors:

3. Public lobbying

4. Institutional partnership

5. Inside-outside

6. Direct reform

7. Indirect pressure

8. Popular power

The final chapter (“Considerations for Strategic Policy Advocacy”) summarizes the viewpoints of advocates associated with each of the six strategies and considers the challenges and evaluation of advocacy.

Sheldon Gen <> is in Public Administration, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA (USA). Amy Conley Wright <> is Director, Research Centre for Children and Families, Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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