The notion of “advocacy” designates the work of defending/supporting a principle or a point of view (individual/general/organization) before a governmental institution or legislature. This activity can have a variable duration, aiming at influencing social partners and policies and can consist of several actions aimed at promoting an idea or influencing a politically motivated activity.
The term “lobbying” signifies the action to promote individual, group or organization interests by influencing public policies, governmental institutions or the legislature. This notion originated in times when people with (political/legislative) interests were waiting in the lobby (hallways) of the buildings the chance to persuade policymakers to vote one way or another.
ADVOCACY AND LOBBYING ACTIVITIES IN THE GENERAL SENSE
Advocacy activity is perceived as a complex process of involving society members in promoting changes in the community. Advocacy actions aim to influence public authorities, activities for the benefit of the whole community.
Advocacy activities can be carried out by non-governmental organizations, alliances of non-governmental organizations, institutions of civil society.
As activities specific to this process are met: Press campaigns (manifested by televised appearances, radio and tv broadcasts, editorials), organizing public events (which may be groups of dialogue, debates, conferences, symposia), networking internet communication (websites, blogs), editing of informative materials (brochures, flyers, magazines).
As specific elements, the advocacy activity presents a specific civil society body that carries our activities for the benefit of people, the beneficiaries (the group whose right or needs must be promoted/defended/met), the situation to be resolved, the public authority-as an opponent, the decision-maker to be influenced, the clear vision of the desired change, the activities that compose that strategy of advocacy.
The advocacy process provides the population of a community with the opportunity to get to know each other better, to act together and to develop their strategic and organizational planning skills, to attract resources and to facilitate networking with different organizations. A successful advocacy activity requires the considerations of all factors leading to the success of the proposed cause and the experience of the members of the organization in that field.
Lobbying activity refers to the legitimate influence of political decisions, through professional communication activities, involving legislative expertise, speech techniques, and strategic skills. Lobbying means the work of a group (its person) who seeks to determine the legislative of executive power to adopt a position or to take a decision to serve the legitimate interest of that group. In addition, by lobbying (lobby activity), decision-makers-MPs, representatives of central and local administration, etc. The expertise of specialists in different areas can benefit from these groups. From another point of view, lobbying constitutes a mechanism to maintain the link between voters and their elect during their term of office.
Lobbying and Advocacy | PRESSURE GROUPS IN POLITICS
1.The notions of pressure group
Unlike political parties, political groups are defined outside the direct interest of participation in the conquest of political power. Their power is greatly diminished under the appearance of the applicability space, depending on the internal structure and nature of the group, which does not mean that they cannot influence political power in its global or sectoral decisions.
In order to be able to talk about the pressure group for the purposes of political science, certain characteristics specific to this type of reorganization and social action must be identified.
1.A minimum of organization
Declaring a simple manifestation or street group, demonstration, etc. A pressure group is wrong. A pressure group must have a minimum of internal organization, which begins from structuring it into leaders and masses of adherents.
The pressure group shall have continuity following the achievement of the intended purpose. However, the manifestation can be derived from the initiative of a pressure group that has decided to choose this way of protest and pressure.
2.Defending the interests of its members
In the U.S. the term Lobbying confuses pressure groups mixing with specialized agencies in political pressure that sell knowledge to different customers. J.M. Denquin believes that this association is misleading, and we cannot include a union or political pressure agency in the same category.
A pressure group for the purposes of political science must define its primary purpose in defending the interests of the members who compose it. The two types of groups discussed above differ in the appearance of the type of purpose they pursue.
3. A certain degree of autonomy
This feature of pressure groups refers to the self-incorporation of the organization or non-political association in an independent control center to an important extent in relation to the proposed action strategies and objectives.
The movements of youth or women created by political parties cannot be considered pressure groups, although they achieve objects that seem similar to those defining pressure groups. Created by political parties they carry out a partial activity, which cannot have autonomy in establishing the strategies of action and objectives proposed, as a syndicate would do, for example. Their ideology is defined by the political party in the shadow of which they were created.
4. Existence of effective political pressure
There is a slight possibility of confusion between pressure groups and other types of social organizations. For example, there are associations that seem by their nature to be pressure groups, as is the case of its various corporations. Religious groups also called for political pressure, and yet they cannot enter the category of pressure groups. In fact, any grouping or organization can be mobilizing to political actions under certain conditions. It doesn’t mean that all non-governmental associations are pressure groups.