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Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

Abstract

Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) have historically dealt with the problem of trying to build organizational capacity while simultaneously dealing with scarce resources. Consequently, practitioners and scholars continue to offer assistance to nonprofits in the development of techniques aimed at addressing these situations. Recent literature shows a push towards innovation, the use of new organizational tax structures, and/or the use of commercial revenue generating activities as plausible strategic alternatives for dealing with declining resources. While these techniques show promise, they typically are reserved for larger nonprofits (as measured by their funding base) and those nonprofits with missions that lend themselves for such activities (e.g., health care, arts and culture). But what about other NPOs that may not be willing to undertake such risk, or who do not have missions that can embrace commercial activity? This article examines two strategies, collaboration and service integration, techniques that are perceived by practitioners to show promise for organizations needing to build capacity, and/or generate new or maintain resources. Based upon data yielded from a national mail survey of social service nonprofit organizations, this article provides an empirical analysis that highlights the extent to which nonprofit social service organizations were engaged in these techniques; and from the perspective of nonprofit upper managers, the impacts their respective nonprofit organizations experienced. Using these data and perspectives, a set of recommendations are derived for today’s organizations to consider. Finding mechanisms to building capacity while increasing organizational resources, including income stream, has never been an easy endeavor for many social service nonprofit organizations. As the number of nonprofit organizations continues to rise, the nonprofit sector faces ever-increasing pressure to become more self-sufficient and resilient, while becoming less reliant upon government funding and charity (Arnold & Edwards, 1998). As nonprofit administrators and academicians probe new and innovative ways for assisting nonprofit organizations in the development of new revenue streams and resources (e.g., innovation, the emergence of new organizational tax structures, the use of commercial activity); the call for collaboration and service integration are still being touted as a plausible means for generating and/or saving resources. This article examines these techniques as a means to develop and enhance organizational resources and strengthen capacity from the perspective of nonprofit practitioners.

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