Analysis of Tools Used by Specific Interest Groups to Achieve their Objectives

Policy making has never been left alone in the hands of the government. Over the years, people with specific interest in policy outcomes have organized themselves into interest groups with the aim of wielding strong influence on government decisions. Basically, all groups regardless of whether they are motivated by economic, professional or public interest make use 4 major tools to achieve their goals: lobbying, electioneering, litigation and demonstrations. However, the tools utilized by an interest group at any point in time depend largely on issues such as its financial capability, size of members, and its level of organization.

Economic interest groups are formed to protect the economic interest of its members. Trade organizations and labour unions are examples of groups formed by economic motivations. They are usually properly funded, well organized and have permanent structures. As a result of this, to make their voices heard and to gain access to the government, they make use of certain strategies which include: lobbying policy makers, litigation, electioneering and demonstrations. Lobbying is done by lobbyists who are employed by interest groups to represent them before policy makers in order to make their interest known. Litigation on the other hand involves using the court to influence policy. Electioneering occurs when interest groups raise funds to sponsor their preferred candidate for a government position.

The public Interest groups focus on issues that concern the general public such as social, health and environmental. They are majorly concerned with a wide scope of issues but when their scope is reduced to a single cause, they are referred to as a single issue group. These groups normally possess financial and human resources needed to initiate an action to influence policy. Traditionally, they also make use of lobbying, electioneering and litigation. A typical example of a public interest group in America is the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured people (NAACP).

Interest groups will continue to shape government policies. However, the tools they decide to utilize at any point in time depend largely on: their membership size, financial capacity and level of organization.

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