What methods do interest groups use to exert influence on the decision making process?
The interest group separates itself from the political party by its actions and methods in trying to change policy. It takes the route of influencing policymakers rather than trying to put its own into office. This allows funding and efforts to be focused on one specific agenda. A controversial way (as of recently) that special interest groups have grown to affect policy is through lobbying. Lobbying is the act of persuading representatives to vote in favor of the interest group’s agenda. The lobbyist may threaten to pour money into an opponent’s campaign, or the interest group may entice the policymakers through means of funding or other deals.
Not all special interest influence is done through lobbying, and a lot of times groups may be able to affect great change through protests and social recognition. Civil Rights legislation was greatly helped along by this sort of grassroots effort to change and influence policy. Sometimes changing the opinions of the constituency helps to put added pressure on a politician without the funding of directly lobbying the individual or groups of individuals in charge of potential policymaking.