Local Governments Need Nonprofit Partnerships for Community COVID-19 Recovery
By Adam Roth on March 1, 2021
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increasing pressure on local governments to prioritize everything from vaccine distribution to contact tracing and testing. This critical work, while important, makes it harder to carry out and support other aspects of local government jobs.
At the same time, localities’ partners in the nonprofit sector, especially those that provide healthcare-adjacent services like food pantries and job programs, are already struggling for resources. In fact, according to The NonProfit Times, “The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) surveyed 850 U.S.-based fundraisers in May. Asked about 2021, fundraisers are more pessimistic still: 72 percent believe they will raise less money next year than they do in a typical year, while a mere 12 percent anticipate raising more.”
If cities and counties fail to acknowledge this funding problem in the nonprofit sector, their communities’ successful recovery will be at risk.
The Importance of Nonprofits in Local Initiatives
Nonprofits are critical to local government success, especially when they are trying to recover following a global crisis. The nonprofit sector, specifically 501(c)3 charitable organizations, are the third largest subsidy of the Federal government, for the taxes they do not pay, due to the requirement to operate towards a charitable purpose. Local governments wanting to drive recovery need to leverage this charitable purpose more than ever.
Nonprofits can not only deliver services with substantial societal and charitable benefits that a local government may not be able to handle effectively, but because their missions are very focused, they can provide services to communities very efficiently as well. Nonprofits also have more access to communities than local governments do, which results in greater community ownership over projects and programs and improved quality of life for citizens.
Public-Private Partnerships and COVID-19 Recovery
Over the next three years, local governments’ primary job will be recovery. This is not easy to tackle alone, and certain partnerships will ensure a more vibrant ecosystem and will lead to greater long-term success in recovery.
That is why the public-private partnerships between local governments and nonprofits are more important than ever during the COVID-19 recovery period. The ability to plan together and share some of the Federal recovery resources with nonprofits will increase the ability of the nonprofits to survive and will increase the availability of services for community members who need them most, speeding up the recovery.
This collaboration will also allow the private sector and private foundations to more easily add targeted resources, through the nonprofit organizations, without needing to support the full burden of key programs and agencies. Over the coming months and years, local governments should continue exploring how they can aid nonprofits so they can, in turn, ensure their communities’ full and speedy recovery.
Want to learn more tips for maximizing your municipalities funding and improving your recovery? Check out our Managing Local Grants ebook.