The Nonprofit Sector at a Crossroads: The Case of America

Lester M. Salamon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite some encouraging trends, America's nonprofit sector stands at a cross-roads because of an interrelated series of challenges. Government budget cuts beginning in the early 1980s have eliminated a significant source of nonprofit revenues and created a serious fiscal squeeze for many organizations. Although the sector as a whole managed to replace this lost revenue, it has done so largely through fees and charges that have attracted for-profit businesses into traditional fields of nonprofit action, creating a serious economic challenge to the sector. Simultaneously, important questions have been raised about the effectiveness and accountability of nonprofit organizations, and about what some see as the over-professionalization and bureaucratization of the sector. All of this has undermined public confidence in the sector and prompted questions about the basic legiti-macy of the special tax and legal benefits it enjoys. To cope with these challenges. American nonprofits could usefully undergo a process of renewal that revives the sector's basic values, reconnects it to its citizen base, and creates a better public understanding of its functions and role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-23
Number of pages19
JournalVoluntas
Volume10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999

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non-profit sector
nonprofit organization
revenue
accountability
value
bureaucratization
non-profit-organization
professionalization
taxes
fee
profit
budget
confidence
economics
citizen
responsibility
trend
public
Nonprofit sector
Revenue

Keywords

  • For-profit competition
  • Nonprofit accountability
  • Nonprofit funding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development

Cite this

The Nonprofit Sector at a Crossroads : The Case of America. / Salamon, Lester M.

In: Voluntas, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1999, p. 5-23.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Salamon, LM 1999, 'The Nonprofit Sector at a Crossroads: The Case of America', Voluntas, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 5-23.
Salamon, Lester M. / The Nonprofit Sector at a Crossroads : The Case of America. In: Voluntas. 1999 ; Vol. 10, No. 1. pp. 5-23.
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