Listed below is a selective list of major non-profit advocacy organizations and public policy think tanks devoted to analyzing state and local government issues and advocating for change.
- City Mayors: Running the World's Cities -- an international research think tank dedicated to urban affairs, is maintained and financed by professionals working together in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa to promote strong and prosperous cities as well as good local government.
- Center for Digital Government -- a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. Through its programs and services, the Center provides public and private sector leaders with decision support, knowledge, and opportunities to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. Part of the larger GovTech media platform.
- Governing -- the nation's leading media platform covering politics, policy and management for state and local government leaders. Good source for comparative state and local data.
- International City/County Management Association (ICMA) -- identifies long-term trends and policy issues affecting local governments and prepares white papers and fact sheets. Working with state and national organizations that represent cities and counties, ICMA brings its professional management voice into national policy debates, regulatory matters, and problem-solving discussions with federal government leaders.
- Money in State Politics -- a searchable database developed by The National Institute on Money in State Politics dedicated to accurate, comprehensive, and unbiased documentation and research on campaign finance at the state level. Database includes over 12 million records.
- National Association of Counties (NACo) -- an advocacy organization that represents county governments in the United States that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance, as well as enterprise services and acts as a liaison with other levels of government, works to improve public understanding of counties, serves as a national advocate for counties, and provides them with resources to help them find innovative methods to meet the challenges they face.
- National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) -- a professional membership organization for state budget and finance officers devoted to improving the quality and availability of information to state budget offices, providing opportunities to share practices across states, Offering training and research information through publications and seminars, and working with and assisting state groups in the development and implementation of policy positions on state fiscal issues.
- National Association of State Chief Information Officers -- a nonprofit association representing state chief information officers and information technology executives and managers from the states, territories, and the District of Columbia, this organization provides state CIOs and state members with products and services designed to support the challenging role of the state CIO, stimulate the exchange of information and promote the adoption of IT best practices and innovations.
- National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT) -- an advocacy organization for nearly 10,000 towns and townships across America. NATaT has developed a proactive federal agenda to ensure that the needs and interests of small communities are reflected in all major federal statutory, regulatory, funding, and policy decisions made in Washington.
- National Center for State Courts (NCSC) -- an independent, nonprofit court improvement organization that serves as a clearinghouse for research information and comparative data to help courts plan, make decisions, and implement improvements that save time and money, while ensuring judicial administration that supports fair and impartial decision-making.
- National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) -- a bipartisan organization that is committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of state legislatures, promoting policy innovation and communication among state legislatures, and ensuring state legislatures a strong, cohesive voice in the federal system.
- National Governors Association (NGA) -- a bipartisan organization of the nation's governors that promotes visionary state leadership, shares best practices, and identifies priority issues and deals collectively with matters of public policy and governance at the state and national levels for the purpose of seeking solutions to improving state government and supporting the principles of federalism.
- National League of Cities (NLC) -- the mission of the National League of Cities is to strengthen and promote cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance by proactively driving federal policy on behalf of cities, on issues that directly impact them, promoting innovation and providing strategies and valuable resources that address the challenges cities face, raising the profile of city governments as key leaders and partners in improving the quality of life for our nation, and expanding the capacity of city officials to serve as ethical, effective and engaged leaders.
- State and Local Government on the Net -- site provides a comprehensive set of over 5,500 links to state agencies, servers controlled by local government agencies, and servers with a domain that is associated with a city or county government. Also included under the executive branch heading are state and local commissions and boards. This is one of the best sites for finding obscure local government home pages. Useful for quickly locating city or town websites.
- State Health Facts.org -- a project of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, the site provides open access health data for all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the United States. In some cases, data are available for counties, territories, and other geographies. State Health Facts is comprised of more than 800 health indicators and provides users with the ability to map, rank, trend, and download data. Data come from a variety of public and private sources.
- United States Conference of Mayors -- official non-partisan organization of cities with a population of 30,000 or larger. The organization serves the following functions: Help develop and promote effective national urban/suburban policy; build stronger and more effective federal-city relationships; monitor the effectiveness of federal policy in terms of its service to urban needs; help mayors develop leadership and management tools; and, creates a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information.
Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.