This is the definitive description of the 1988 Survey of Groups and Organizations Working for Peace and the 1992 follow-up of the peace movement organizations which responded in 1988. We discuss American peace movement organizations and the origins and history of the research effort in Part One along with a brief review of some of the theoretical considerations underlying this process.
In Part Two we explain the survey methods and procedures including details on the stratified sample selection, questionnaire development, survey procedures in 1988 and 1992 and response rates. The 1992 effort, especially, was the product of a team of colleagues and we outline that process. (Names and addresses of team members follow this summary). One aspect was collaboration on changes in the 1992 questionnaire and another was a study of nonrespondents to the 1988 survey which increased the level of confidence in the data derived from both surveys.
The dimensions and operations of American peace movement organizations are presented ill Part Three. The "demographic" data for both segments of the sample includes founding dates, geographic distribution and focus, tax status, organizational type, constituency, governance, membership type and numbers, staff, expenditures and, for the 1992 survey, sources of income. The first part of relatively stable data are from the larger 1988 survey. Beginning with organizational type we also include 1992 data for comparison. Key findings from these data include the comparative youth of a large segment of these peace movement organizations and their relatively small budgets, their uneven disbursement throughout the U.S. with more than half located in the eastern states plus California, a major focus on local, state, and regional work, and that religious individuals and groups are the only large constituency group.
Almost all of the larger groups in what is called Sample I had a form of Federal tax status, just under half of the smaller groups in Sample II which answered the question on tax status had Federal tax status. (Assuming those that did not answer did not have Federal tax status, only one third of Sample II groups were tax exempt groups which would be listed in IRS records. Therefore, the remaining two-thirds segment represents the large pool of nonprofit associations rarely studied by research based on IRS records). By about the same proportions, almost all the groups in Sample I had governing boards and somewhat over half of the groups in Sample II did. Membership size varied widely from less than ten to over 100,000. In 1988 the median membership size in Sample I was 1500 in 1988 and 1000 in 1992. The medians for Sample II were 63 and 45 members respectively. Annual expenditure ranged from a few thousand dollars to over $1 million. The medians for the two samples were $85,000 in 1988 and $110,700 in 1992 for Sample I and $6,250 in 1988 and $2,800 in 1992 for tile smaller groups in Sample II. These medians are evidence of the major decline in American peace movement organizations which took place between 1988 and 1992. From these data we can conclude that the peace movement of 1988 was extremely diverse and the overwhelming proportion was small groups with minimal resources, many less than 18 years old and a substantial portion less than seven years old in 1988. The meteoric rise of the freeze movement in the early 1980's is reflected in these data, although its decline had already begun by this time.
A review of the organizational characteristics and operations data support the conclusion that peace movement organizations, above the low threshold of a $30,000 annual budget, are likely to be as well organized and managed as any other nonprofit social movement organizations, as far as may be known now in the absence of similar data on a large number of other social movement organizations. This review includes the organizational structure, financial operations, and external organizational relations of these organizations in 1988 and 1992. The 1992 survey of surviving groups, after a major changes in the world political climate that reduced interest in peace movement activities, show generally small percentages and lower means on most of the operations data tallied. In light of previous writing about the peace movement we would expect that many younger organizations would disappear and that the older organizations might maintain an infrastructure for the movement as the basis for its next surge.
Most social movement organizations are known to the public at large because of their goals. Part Four of this paper includes findings about the most important goals for these peace movement organizations. From a list of 21 goals, the top three for both samples in 1988 were "promoting personal peace and commitment to nonviolence," "promoting social justice," and "eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide." In 1992 "promoting social justice" was among the top three most important goals in both samples. "Promoting personal peace and commitment to nonviolence" and "reduce military expenditures" were the other two top goals in Sample I in 1992. The other two goals in Sample II were "reform views of other peoples or countries" and "changing U.S. foreign policy to eliminate unilateral intervention." This latter goal, among these very small groups, probably reflects the continued existence of many grassroots efforts focused on U.S. activities in Central America and the Caribbean. The percentages choosing many other goals and the changes from 1988 and 1992 are presented in this section, along with the new goals added to the questionnaire in the 1992 survey. An obvious change between 1988 and 1992 is the greater emphasis placed on goals relating to the environment, natural resources, and sustainable development among the 1992 respondents.
The data from a bank of items on organizational values and strategies further reinforces the not surprising finding that these peace movement organizations have a commitment to nonviolence, they seek to influence U.S. foreign policy and they try to act in terms of the slogan "think globally, act locally." Response to a new set of questions in 1992 show that these groups believe that significant and enduring change in national policy must be based on grassroots organizing, that the UN should play a larger role than the US in peacemaking, and that they wish to advocate change through persuasive, intellectual, appeals for rational solutions to world problems.
The activities and tactics of these organizations include educational, legislative and lobbying, electoral, and direct action efforts. In both years the largest percentages of groups in both samples were engaged in educational activities and the smallest in electoral work, which is to be expected given the regulations governing tax exempt organizations which severely limit electoral activities by nonprofit organizations. From a quarter to over one third of the 1988 respondents engaged in what is called here direct action (e.g. boycotts, nonviolence training, civil disobedience). The percentages in 1992 were very similar with the exception of participation in civil disobedience among the Sample I groups which fell from 27% in 1988 to 17% in 1992. Answers to questions about activities related to recent crises show that the Persian Gulf War had a bigger impact on these peace organizations than the changes which took place in the Soviet bloc between 1988 and 1992. Approximately a third of these groups were involved in the National Gulf War demonstration in Washington, D.C.
Another new section in the 1992 questionnaire asked for estimates of kind and amount of media coverage. Almost 70% of the 1992 respondents had been written about at least once in a newspaper in the preceding year. Very small percentages had weekly or more frequent newspaper coverage. Over 60% of the groups had letters to the editor published and over half were covered in TV news story. In contrast, especially among the smaller groups, large percentages were never covered by cable or local access TV or radio or TV talk shows.
To complement this detailed description of the 1988 and 1992 surveys, Part Five includes summaries of the key findings of most of the analytical papers and articles written by all those involved in this effort from 1989 to date. Some of these analyses provide evidence to contradict commonly accepted ideas about the relationships between mission, organizational characteristics, and activities of social movement organizations. Several analyses are still in progress and more are planned for the future. It is our hope that the variety of these analyses will encourage other scholars to use the unique and comprehensive data base developed by these two surveys. The data and the codebooks are available from Doug Bond, Program on Nonviolent Sanctions, Center for International Affairs, Harvard University (1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138).
Colwell, M.A. Culleton and Bond, D. (1994). American peace movement organizations: the 1988 and 1992 surveys. Working paper (University of San Francisco. Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management); no. 21. San Francisco, CA: Institute for Nonprofit Organization Management, College of Professional Studies, University of San Francisco.