There are two main ways in which interest groups can attempt to influence Congress and the president as they are working on making policy.
First, interest groups can try to influence the elected officials through what is called the “inside game.” In this strategy, the interest groups engage in direct, personal appeals to elected officials. This is what is commonly known as “lobbying.” The interest groups will talk to officials and try to persuade them. They might offer pre-written amendments to bills that they want officials to introduce. They may draw on the fact that they have contributed money to the officials in the past as a way to persuade the officials to go along with them.
Second, the groups can try to influence politicians through what is called the “outside game.” Here, they try to indirectly influence the government by using public opinion. An interest group will try to mobilize its members. The members will then contact government officials and let them know what they feel about the legislation in question. The politicians will then feel pressured to go along with what the people want.
Thus, interest groups can either try to persuade politicians through lobbying or they can try to drum up public opinion to influence the elected officials.