Nonprofit State Associations and other nonprofit organizations should reach out to governments to establish cooperative relationships through which the parties, as partners, work through practical, procedural, and fiscal problems and together develop solutions that ensure people get the services they need when they need them, taxpayers receive full value for the programs they are funding, and communities are strengthened. Donors Forum of Illinois pioneered an excellent model for public and private collaboration and problem solving, which has culminated in the highly endorsed Partnership Principles for a Sustainable Human Services System. Successful partnerships have also been established in San Francisco, Tucson, and the ongoing Connecticut Nonprofit Cabinet, that is partially funded by the State.
Nonprofit State Associations should explore with the State the creation of an ombudsman for government contracting who is responsible for serving as an advocate for contractors in the contracting process. The ombudsman position could be created as a state official (Florida), a State Association employee (New York), or one jointly funded by both.
Just Say No
Nonprofits must learn to refuse contracts that are not manageable or cost effective, and to tell governmental entities that they will not be junior partners in protecting the best interests of residents of the state.
Training for Nonprofit Contractors
Nonprofit State Associations should partner with the State and local governments to provide ongoing training for nonprofit contractors on the bidding process and reporting requirements in order to clarify expectations and prevent confusion.