Past Program

Aug 29 - Sep 05, 1998

Sustaining the Independent Sector: New Roles for Public, Non-Governmental, and Corporate Actors


Numerous organizations around the world—variously known as civic society organizations, the third or independent sector, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—have become central to setting the public agenda, influencing government policies and programs, providing a range of services otherwise not available, and forming the building blocks of democratic societies. As independent sector activities expand and intensify, long-term sustainability of this sector has become crucial, both for the organizations themselves and for the communities they serve. In order to guarantee their continued vitality, NGOs must find ways to foster their organizational and financial stability, to secure their legal status, and to develop appropriate partnerships that permit a maximization of resources.


This session will review the current range of independent sector activity, and will explore the conceptual bases for a variety of issues related to the long-term sustainability of NGOs: establishing effective legal frameworks that guarantee the independence of NGO activity; developing tax incentives that promote a culture of giving; maintaining accountability to funders and the public; networking with other partners; securing funding; creating endowments; stimulating volunteer activity; and nurturing private sector partnerships and "corporate citizenship," increasingly prominent in the independent sector.