Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

PA 274 Nonprofit Advocacy and Policy (**)


Nonprofit organizations do not exist in a vacuum, in fact, their very existence is sanctioned or made possible through government laws and regulations. Nonetheless, that does not mean that they are mere supplicants of the government; nonprofits are sensitive to, interact with, and engage in the public policy process in important ways. This course offers an overview of the roles U.S. based nonprofit organizations play in the public policy process. The course is concerned with the activities nonprofits engage in to influence public policy decisions. 

Course Objectives: This course is designed to deepen our awareness and understanding of the complex dynamics of nonprofit-government relations and the role nonprofits play in State and U.S. public policy process. The course will focus on (1) the public policy process and (2) how nonprofit organizations participate in that process through advocacy activities which include direct lobbying (to influence a legislative body) and indirect grassroots efforts and public relations (to influence public opinion). It will also provide a global perspective.

Upon Completion of this Course: You will be familiar with the public policy process. You will be familiar with the advocacy roles nonprofits play in the public policy process.  You will be familiar with the practice of advocacy i.e., direct and indirect lobbying activities.  You will be sensitized to the challenges such nonprofits encounter in those roles. You should be comfortable participating or advising on influencing public policy. 

Learn more about the Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy

Syllabus Spring 2020


(*) = Routinely Offered

(**) = Commonly Offered (very likely to be offered in the next one to three years)