Across the country, jurisdictions at all levels are exploring new ways of contracting for social services.
Government procurement has traditionally paid nonprofit providers for the delivery of services to communities in need. Now, governments are actively pursuing ways in which they can pay for the performance of these services. The introduction of more effective data practices, robust evaluation methods, and innovative public-private partnerships is changing the relationship between jurisdictions and their local nonprofit organizations.
These new developments stem from a decades-long conversation about measuring the performance of government. Since the early 1990s, policymakers at every level have sought to improve contracts with data-informed resource decisions, while public policy labs and academics studied their impact. However, the volume of public and private sector voices in these discussions has often drowned out the voice of arguably the most critical player—the local, nonprofit service providers delivering government-funded services on the ground.
The Voice of Nonprofit Service Providers Is Crucial
Under new performance-based policy initiatives, publically contracted nonprofits may face new risks. Evaluating the social intervention of a nonprofit is a complex process that may have consequences for an organization’s ongoing funding streams.
On the other hand, nonprofits operating under performance-based contracts may also benefit from their creative financing structures. Nonprofits may find their staff time freed from arbitrary compliance requirements, allowing them to focus resources directly on the needs of the people they serve.
America’s nonprofits face both pros and cons within a performance-based contracts initiative, just the same as other stakeholders. Their voices need to be heard just the same, too.
Have Your Voice Heard
Your responses to our five-minute survey will inform all stakeholders on the position of America’s social sector in the trend toward performance-based contracting. By completing the survey by April 29, you will help build a social sector that can work collaboratively toward solutions for our most vulnerable communities.
What’s more, you will be entered to win a $200 donation to your organization for taking the time to complete the survey.
Thank you your response—we’re looking forward to hearing from you.
The preceding post is by Joe Gayeski, Analyst at Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc., a nonprofit advisory firm. As a New Sector AmeriCorps RISE Fellow, Joe supports Third Sector's engagements with governments, high-performing nonprofits, and private funders in building evidence-based social service initiatives.