45 Interest Groups Examples

Interest Groups Examples

Interest groups are organized groups of people who have come together to advocate for their own interests.

In public policy, public interest groups (also known as special interest groups) are established to pressure people in power, such as policy-makers, to make decisions that benefit their interests.

Interest groups may also be set up to effect change in their local communities, influence business decisions, create market-disrupting products that advance a goal, or protest for something!

Interest Groups Examples

  • Labor Unions – These are groups of workers who have organized to promote workers’ rights, good working conditions, and fair wages.
  • Local Business Groups – These are business owners who have formed groups to lobby for favorable conditions for businesses to thrive. For example, they may advocate for lower taxes or less red tape.
  • Home Owners Associations – Local homeowners often come together to form a home owner’s association. This will help them have a voice about future developments near their homes and service upgrades in a town.
  • Scientific Organizations – Scientists often form special interest groups to advise and pressure decision makers to make scientifically literate decisions.
  • Educational Organizations – Local schools, universities, and educators often want to advocate for better public education or for improved educational policies. (See also: stakeholders in education).
  • Environmental Advocates – There are many public interest groups set up to agitate for better environmental standards. One of the best-known examples is Greenpeace, who run public education campaigns designed to shock people into caring about environmental issues.
  • Freedom and Anti-Government Groups – There is also many groups who dislike government regulation and want to minimize government intervention in their lives.
  • Religious Groups – Many churches and other religious organizations agitate for policies that are more consistent with their particular religious values.
  • Public Health Organizations – Doctors, nurses, and public health educators will often form special interest groups designed to improve public health and standard of life.
  • Pharmaceutical Companies – In the United States, some of the most powerful interest groups are lobbies designed to advocate for the interests of private healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Policing and Public Safety Organizations – Police forces and families concerned about public safety will often form groups designed to agitate for safe communities. Police Unions are also often active in this area.
  • Accessibility Advocates – Many groups are designed specifically to ensure that buildings, institutions, and services are accessible to all people. For example, they may advocate for wheelchair access in all public spaces.
  • Parenting Groups – Parents can come together in groups to advocate for the safety of their children. For example, P&C committees at schools are interest groups designed to influence policy at local schools.
  • Human Rights Advocates – Often, human rights advocacy groups are composed of lawyers who donate their time to advocate for people in need.
  • Advocates for Immigrants – Immigrant advocacy organizations are set up to make sure that immigrants are treated fairly and have some support when setting up in a new country.
  • Advocates for Minorities – Minority advocacy groups attempt to highlight the systemic disadvantages minorities face and work to address them. For example, they may advocate for equal access to education no matter if you grow up in a minority-majority suburb or a wealthy white suburb.
  • Veterans Affairs Groups – These groups are designed to help veterans after they have re-entered civilian life. They face specific problems such as PTSD and unemployment that need to be addressed.
  • Retirees and Seniors Groups – Seniors often need to advocate for access to healthcare and end-of-life housing.
  • Alumni – Alumni organizations are special interest groups for graduates of schools and universities who want to protect the traditions of the institutions.
  • Shareholders – Shareholders organizations are groups of shareholders who come together to vote as a block or advocate for their special interests to a board of directors in a company.
  • Consumer Advocacy Groups – Consumer advocacy groups attempt to protect consumers from anti-competitive activities of businesses and poor business practices.
  • Farming Organizations – Farmers’ organizations attempt to promote the interests of farmers and primary producers. They often get very active during trade negotiations because they want to be protected against low-cost overseas goods arriving in the country and undercutting domestic farming productivity.

13 Famous Public Interest Groups

  • Greenpeace – Greenpeace is an environmental action group that exists in 55 separate countries. It’s known for its stunts that often involve civil disobedience like hanging protest signs off Sydney Harbour Bridge.
  • P&C Committees – Just about every school has a Parents and Community Committee. These committees scrutinize school policies and seek an audience with decision-makers to have their voice heard at schools.
  • National Association of Realtors – With 1.5 million members, this interest group is the largest in the USA. It advocates for real estate agents and generally pushes for a more robust (and profitable) real estate industry.
  • Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America – Political interest groups such as PRMA are often controversial because many people believe their influence is why pharmaceutical prices are so high in the USA.
  • Amnesty International – Amnesty International advocates for human rights around the world. It is involved in supporting refugees, immigrants, and minority rights.
  • World Wildlife Fund – WWF is the premier private organization for protecting endangered animals and their ecosystems. They both advocate environmental interests to governments and run their own environmental protection programs.
  • Oxfam – Oxfam is an international interest group whose main goal is to eradicate poverty. Like the WWF, it’s both a political advocacy group and active in running their own anti-poverty interventions in the developing world.
  • NAACP – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has historically been very active in pushing for civil rights in the United States.
  • Chamber of Commerce – Most countries have several chambers of commerce, including at the local city and national level. The most famous is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They advocate for the interests of business owners.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center – The SPLC agitates for civil rights in America. They’re most famous for fighting against supremacy groups in the USA.
  • Public Citizen – Public Citizen is a consumer advocacy group that aims to act as a counterweight against corporate lobby groups in the USA.
  • AFL-CIO – The AFL-CIO is one of the largest trade unions in the United States. It advocates for workers’ rights and high wages.
  • ACLU – The ACLU agitates for civil liberties and even has pro-bono lawyers who will protect people whose civil liberties are thought to have been violated.

Interest Groups vs Stakeholders

Interest groups are a type of stakeholder. Stakeholders are any people who ‘have a stake’ in an outcome of something. In other words, they will be affected by the outcomes of an action.

The key difference in the terminology is that interest groups are usually organized groups, while stakeholders could also be individuals.

In business, stakeholders are often split into the categories of internal stakeholders and external stakeholders.

  • Internal stakeholders are individuals or interest groups that act within an organization, such as the employees in a workplace or the board of managers.
  • External stakeholders are individuals or interest groups that are external observers but who may still be affected. For example, if a new power plant is set up, then the local community are external stakeholders. They will be affected by the pollution and trucks passing through town, but they’re not members of the power plant company in any way.

Conclusion

An interest group is designed to protect special niche interests such as the interests of minorities, businesses, workers, and the government. Examples of interest groups include Oxfam, the World Wildlife Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Greenpeace.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

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