My research focuses on the issue specificity of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). NGOs sometimes carry a mission statement that explicitly limits their scope of activities to a single or few issues. While doing so essentially negates their ability to adopt a new issue, it allows them to attract a subset of informed audiences who have acute sense of dissatisfaction on particular issues. Then, those "issue-specific NGOs" are more likely to survive than generalist counterparts, as they can compete on issue-specific dimensions instead of an aggregated, single dimension of an issue area, which leading NGOs dominate.
But what does the presence of issue-specific NGOs mean to the public? The public differs from informed audiences in that the individuals who comprise it rarely possess firmly established issue-specific opinions. To them, issue-specific NGOs may appear as having expertise and thus credible to address particular issues. When informed by an issue-specific NGO, the public may react in the same way it does to a leading NGO of the issue area. The consequence of this manifests in the public salience of particular issues, answering the question of why the public pays attention to some issues over others.
To explore the implications of my argument above, I explore the issue area of wildlife conservation cross-nationally. I use a mixed-method approach, such as text analysis, survey experiment, regression analysis, and interviews.