The Nonprofit Sector

Steven Rathgeb Smith

in The Oxford Handbook of Civil Society

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195398571
Published online May 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Nonprofit Sector


This article explores the place of the nonprofit sector in the broader field of civil society. It examines different theories which aim to account for the rise of nonprofits and highlights an emerging set of issues and dilemmas that arise from the ways in which nonprofit organizations are being positioned. It explains that nonprofit organizations form a specific category of associational life in civil society and they are usually defined by their high level of formality in terms of legal registration, by the preponderance of external funding in their budgets and by their roles as intermediaries that sit between grassroots constituencies and communities, and government and other agencies.

Keywords: nonprofit sector; civil society; nonprofit organizations; associational life; legal registration; external funding; grassroots constituencies

Article.  5622 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Public Administration

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