Sample Research Paper on Nonprofit Organizations in the society

How Governments Depend on Nongovernmental Organizations in Provision of Public Goods and Services


Nonprofit Organizations are vital institutions in development of the society in any particular country. They are founded on voluntary course, with objectives of supporting communities, societies, or persons to improve their standards of living without the objective of making profits like the commercial sector. They are, however, distinct from both government and business although their some of their goals are like those of the government (Boris, Steuerle, Urban Institute, & Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (Urban Institute, 1999, p. 01).

Transparency and accountability are key tenets in compliance with the laid down procedures and policies to ensure credible governance. Once accountability and transparency are prioritized in line with the policies laid down by the government, the organization’s mandate and purpose is actualized. The participation of these organizations and the realization of positive impact in the society and the general community’s good are fairly remarkable when aligned with the government’s mutual intents and goodwill. The nonprofit sector, therefore, has a symbiotic relationship with the public policy (governance) – each is influenced to varying degrees by the other (Vaughan & Arsneault, 2014, p. 02, 18).

It is very important for harmonious operation of the NGOs to operate on a clearly marked framework. This frame can only be set by the specific government under whose jurisdiction the organization is operating. In most of the countries, governments constitute a regulatory body to oversee the vetting, registration and operationalization of the nonprofit organizations. These oversight bodies draw representation from both the government and the NGOs. The prime expectation is that these bodies will be seen to complement and supplement the governmental development agenda but not to compete. Many a times though, the relationship of the two is not always cordial but accompanied by conflicts amidst collaboration (Boris, Steuerle, Urban Institute, & Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (Urban Institute), 1999, p. 02).

This essay explores critically the roles these organizations play and as to whether they collaborate or conflict with the government. This essay by and large analytically identifies and explains some different ways governments have come to depend on nongovernmental organizations NGOs to produce and deliver public goods and services. Majority of NGOs focus area on the general public interests, such as civic education on issues directly affecting the citizens. Other areas of emphasis are such like human rights advocacy, health matters, gender and children’s rights, nutrition among other socioeconomic concerns.

Governmental Policies

Policies envisage the causeway or principals of action that are outlined by the government. Governments lay out principles and rules, guidelines and norms in order to actualize their vision, mission, goals and objectives of its governance manifesto. Government authorities put the same in proper documents, possibly booklets that are easily accessible by the general public and organizations of interest (Boris, 2006). These policies are crafted to direct and govern operation norms within the spheres of the defined domain. Each day-to-day’s operations of any organization are governed by clearly laid down procedures with checks and balances to ascertain that a desired position of interest by the governing authority has yielded the expected results.

The Persistent Expectations

The relationship between the government and the nonprofit organizations has always been begging for little more input by the other party. Many a times, the NGOs fault the government for being overbearing and on the other hand, the government accuses the NGOs of being over ambitious. The Government’s opinion towards the nonprofit organizations depicts their expectations and reliance to some extent they expect the NGOs to meet. It is through this kind of expectations that the government finances, facilitates and oversees some of these activities of the nonprofits (Vaughan & Arsneault, 2014 p. 02).

Nonprofits render crucial services

The government no doubt recognizes the provision of fundamentally essential goods and services to its citizenry. Most notable as the name sounds is that these nonprofit organizations are solely driven by the humanitarian heart to serve humanity not necessarily for monetary selfish gains. Majority of their workers are volunteers serving in social forums such as places of worship, schools, and health centers and so on (Boris, Steuerle, Urban Institute, & Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (Urban Institute), 1999, p. 2-3). In the event that the government wishes to dispense some kind of information to the citizenry, these organizations come in handy to offer the essential services. More often than not, the government would find the approach, expertise and the social goodwill of these organizations appealing to the general public.

Government Dependency

            The government is generally the one that ought to provide social utilities to the public. However, it may not be able to meet all that is required by the general public hence the need for an extra hand (Kettl, 2012, p. 01). Nonprofit sector come in handy in provision of other social goods and services that the government has not able to provide hence the dependence. Some of the ways the government depend on the nonprofit sector are discussed herein below.

 Foreign Agenda

Majority of the governments use the nonprofit organization to maneuver their foreign interest (Boris, Steuerle, Urban Institute, & Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (Urban Institute), 1999, p. 27). This would be an impossible mission for a government to directly indulge itself in another country’s business (Vaughan & Arsneault, 2014, p. 6). This however would be the easiest for the civil society to establish a network through the guise of humanitarian projects. The advantages of this approach are that, the state’s interests are likely to succeed, whereas on the other hand it will cost the government a lot of compromises and financial implications. In the event that the government commissions an NGO, chances of compromising their policies are very high.

Citizens access to government policy

Most of the policies for the citizenry would be hard without a socially initiated approach. Some of these include the elderly, civil rights organizations, juvenile groups. Through the organizations, the government policies are dispensed to the less advantaged groups with equity. The advantage of this kind of approach is that it would be so easy owing to the fact that these persons and groups would feel free and at liberty being served by people they can identify with other than a government that would many a times be viewed to be imperialistic. The disadvantage however would be that the community would see the government as doing nothing to better their fright and give the organizations the credit instead (Vaughan & Arsneault, 2014, 16-18).

The expertise Factor

Majority of the nonprofit sector personnel are of a fairly technical know-how in the specific discipline of engagement. For the government to offer ethically and professionally relevant services to the society, it needs labor force that is conversant with the specific field (Boris, Steuerle, Urban Institute, & Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (Urban Institute), 1999, p. 16, 18). Case in point, the health services providers have proven to possess technical knowhow of a desirable degree.

The good thing to use these technocrats is that the general populace will be able to access quality services regardless of their financial capabilities, whereas these elites on the adverse flipside would endear themselves to the general public as the ones that are mindful of the welfare of the ‘ordinary’ people. Sociologically speaking, these ‘ordinary’ people are the voting bloc. These elites are likely to win the voting power of the people and influence them to ascent to power, which may not work well for the uncurbed ruling class. To the government this would be seen as betrayal to the bilateral participatory spirit (Mindry, 2001 p. 13).


The presence of the civil society and the nonprofit organizations is an indispensable factor in the human existence. Though diverse observers give conflicting views on the question as to whether the bilateral spirit between this sector and the government should be discouraged. It is a considerable thought that, enhancement of the same would lead to a stronger society. The collaboration of the two needs a further review to avert abuse and thus voiding unnecessary conflict. There are some who for one reason or another would abuse the harmonious interrelationships. Such culprits should be ganged in the scales of justice so as not to generalize these organizations ethical status and credibility.



Boris, E. T., Steuerle, C. E., Urban Institute., & Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy (Urban Institute). (1999). Nonprofits and government: Collaboration and conflict. Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press.

Kettl, D. F. (2012). Politics of the administrative process, 6th edition+ mission mystique package. S.l.: Cq Press.

Mindry, D. (2001). Nongovernmental organizations, “grassroots”, and the politics of virtue. Signs, 26(4), 1187-1211. Retrieved from

Vaughan, S. K., & Arsneault, M. (2014). Managing nonprofit organizations in a policy world. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press.