Elizabeth Bell, Alisa Hicklin Fryar, Tyler Johnson
September 16, 2020
Research on nonprofit advocacy has grown in recent years, and many nonprofit organizations have expanded and refined their efforts to influence public policies in ways they believe will benefit society. Despite the growing body of literature on nonprofit advocacy, there is substantial room for development on questions related to public perceptions of nonprofit advocacy activities. Utilizing an experimental design, we examine the ways in which the involvement of a nonprofit organization in the policy process can shift public opinion regarding a specific policy proposal. We also explore how these perceptions vary when we introduce political conflict that questions the effectiveness of the proposed policy. We find that in the absence of political controversy, the involvement of nonprofits in the policy process can significantly increase positive perceptions, relative to the control condition in which there is no mention on nonprofit involvement. However, we also find that the ways in which nonprofit involvement could boost support for a policy proposal may not hold when there is conflict over the policy in question.