36 Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Q. 5 (2007)

handle is hein.journals/npvolsq36 and id is 1 raw text is: 









Politics, Policy, and the Motivations for
Advocacy in Nonprofit Reproductive
Health and Family Planning Providers


Jill Nicholson-Crotty
University of   Missouri-Columbia



   Despite the important symbolic and substantive benefits of political activity by non-
   profit organizations, recent evidence suggests that a relatively limited number of char-
   ities actively advocate. The existing literature on nonprofit advocacy adequately
   explains why so few charities are actively political; however, it fails to illuminate the
   reasons why some individual charities choose to advocate despite documented con-
   straints. This article offers an alternative to existing explanations for nonprofit advo-
   cacy that focuses on the causes for, and the constraints on, this behavior. It suggests
   that nonprofit organizations are more likely to be politically active when public policies
   restrict their ability to deliver core services, and when the probability of success is high-
   est because of the presence of political allies. Analyses of advocacy behavior in more
   than 450 501(c)(3) organizations suggest that these factors persist as motivators of
   political activity even after controlling for the dominant constraints suggested in the
   literature.

   Keywords:   advocacy; lobbying; reproductive health; family planning; policy


Groups   classified by  the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as 501(c)(3) orga-
nizations  constitute  what   we   traditionally think  of  as public   charities.
Contributions   to these organizations  are tax deductible  because  these  orga-
nizations have  as their primary  mission  the delivery of services and  support
to citizens who   are typically underserved   by  government and the market.
In recent years, however,  scholars of the voluntary  and  nonprofit sector have
become   increasingly  interested  in the instances  when   these  organizations
engage  in advocacy,  or overt political behavior, on behalf of their clients. The



Note: I would like to thank the National Center for Charitable Statistics within the Urban
Institute for allowing access to the financial data collected from the IRS Form 990 and digitized
by the organization.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 1, March 2007 5-21
DOI: 10.1177/0899764006291778
@ 2007 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action
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