Human service nonprofits have historically played an important role in advocating on behalf of the vulnerable populations that they serve. Growth in privatization has led many scholars and practitioners to wonder if increased dependence on government funds would compromise this role. The objective of this study is to explore the relationship between government funding and advocacy participation, goals, and tactics through a qualitative investigation of advocacy involvement in the field of homeless services. Results demonstrate that having government funding is associated with managers being highly motivated to participate in advocacy in the hopes of solidifying funding relationships. As a result, advocacy goals are focused primarily on brokering resources and promoting the organization rather than substantive policy change or client representation. Furthermore, in order to be perceived as a legitimate partner to government, organizations reject confrontational methods and advocate as insiders. Overall, these findings indicate perceptions about advocacy may need to shift as increased reliance on government funding has made advocacy participation and participation in collaborative governance virtually indistinguishable. Read more.
Keeping the Lights On: How Government Funding Concerns Drive the Advocacy Agendas of Nonprofit Homeless Service Providers
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory