Types of Interest Groups

1. Business / Trade Associations- Interest groups formed by merchants, creditors, business owners and other commerce related organizations.  There goal is to promote business interest.  Examples of business related interest groups include National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States.  These interest groups represent both large and small business interest.  Trade associations such as the American Trucking Association or the American Bankers Association are also considered "Business Interest Groups"

2. Agricultural Groups- These interest groups look after the interest of farmers and the government's agricultural policy.  The include several broad-based farm groups and larger number of groups that represent farms who raise particular commodities such as dairy products, grain, fruit peanuts, livestock, cotton, wool, corn, and soybeans..  The most prominent farm groups are the National Grange, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Farmers Union.

3. Professional Groups - The professions are generally defined as those occupations that require extensive and specialized training, such as medicine, law and teaching. These groups also maintain organizations to protect and promote their interests.   Three major professional groups are The American Medical Association (AMA)  the American Bar Association (ABA) and the National Education Association (NEA)

4. Labor Union Groups - A labor union is an organization of workers who share the same type of job or who work in the same industry.  Labor Unions press for government policies that will benefit their members.  The largest in both size and political power is the AFL-CIO (The American Federation of Labor Congress of Industrial Organizations.  Organized labor generally speaks with one voice on such social welfare and job related maters such as Social Security programs, minimum wages and unemployment. 

5. Promote Causes -  A large number of groups exist to promoting or opposing a certain cause.  Examples of these groups include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Common Cause, The League of Women Voters, National Women's Political Caucus, National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, The National Right-to-Life Committee, Planned Parenthood, National Rifle Association.

6. Promote the Welfare - A number of interest groups seek to promote the welfare of certain segments of the population.  Examples of these groups include the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  These special interest groups include those that are promoting the welfare of minority groups in America.

7. Religious Groups - These groups try to influence public policy in religious maters.  Examples of groups include the National Council of Churches, Christian Coalition, The National Catholic Welfare Council, American Jewish Congress, Anti Defamation League...

8. Public Interest Groups - These groups are different than the others described because they do not just seek benefits for their members but for the entire public.  These interest groups seek to institute certain public policies of benefit to all or most people in this country, whether or not they belong or support that organization.  The best known and most active are Common Cause and Ralph Nader's Public Citizen, Inc., and the League of Women Voters.