Deciding to Fund Nonprofits: Key Questions

By Margaret Henderson, Lydian Altman-Sauer, and Gordon Whitaker
Chapel Hill, NC (Summer 2002)- The reasons that government officials choose to fund nonprofits can vary. Matching the reason to a nonprofit cause can be the difference between funding a program one year and operating it sustainability as part of your organization’s mission.

Some of the reasons governments fund nonprofits include:
* To provide general support to improve the local community.
* To support a specific goal of their public commitment or jurisdiction’s strategic plan.
* To provide specific programs or services that government would otherwise be expected to deliver, or augment, complement, or fill in gaps in government services.
* To supplement public funds with contributions of time, expertise, and money from volunteers and other donors.
* To move more flexibly or quickly than government to address a pressing need.
* To build a sense of community or encourage civic participation by involving volunteers, neighbors, or others who are known and trusted by a particular community.
* To bring specialized expertise on community issues or on a specific population because of their mission and experience.
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Deciding to Fund Nonprofits: Key Questions