Societies. Volume 13(2), 49.

This article is concerned with equalities nonprofit organizations’ activities to achieve substantive representation in policy-making through a sub-state government. It draws on three strands of the interest representation literature from equalities theory, nonprofit sector studies, and social movements theory. The analytical framework synthesizes these to provide a new approach for examining equalities nonprofit organizations’ policy influencing. Drawing on equalities theorists’ accounts of mainstreaming, and understandings of campaigns from social movement literature, it explores nonprofit organizations’ positioning in relation to government in order to advance equality. This analysis engages with questions raised by nonprofit scholars about nonprofit organizations’ independence from government and their capacity to retain a critical voice. An overarching institutionalist lens enables an examination of the formal and informal facets that shape policy influencing approaches. The research question is: How have equalities organizations engaged with the institution of a nonprofit-government partnership to promote substantive representation in policy? This research uses semi-structured elite interviews to explore key policy actors’ accounts. The case study is the statutory Welsh nonprofit sector–government partnership. Findings suggest the equalities nonprofit organizations involved in this partnership deploy a sophisticated array of action repertoires as part of an interrelated web of nuanced, multi-positioned influencing activities. This agility enables the sector to maintain some capacity to be critical of the state whilst sustaining informal relations with state policy actors.