State task force seeks ways to simplify contracts with nonprofits

October 15, 2010

Maryland NonprofitsSince the 1970s, the state has leaned toward hiring nonprofits to deliver health and social services on behalf of state and local jurisdictions, according to Henry Bogdan, public policy head of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations. Services range from community health centers and domestic violence programs, to job training and child care.

Bogdan said the current procurement process is too complex. He cited ongoing concerns among the nonprofits, many of which are small organizations with limited resources and personnel. “You are using staff time at the provider level and at the state agency level,” he said.

On Oct. 7, the Urban Institute’s Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy, in collaboration with the National Council of Nonprofits, issued a national survey on procurement. The study showed that procurement problems are widespread across the country.

That same day, the National Council of Nonprofits issued its own related report, which called the state and federal contracting systems “archaic” and characterized procurement issues as “a silent national crisis.”

In a state-by-state comparison in the National Council of Nonprofits report, Maryland ranked 32nd worst in the complexity of reporting requirements for state contracts.

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