Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 26, 1996

Strengthening The Nonprofit Sector IPS Establishes Center 
for Civil Society Studies

     The Institute for Policy Studies has created a new center to
organize the work it is doing throughout the world to promote the
development of the nonprofit sector and local self-governments. 

     The Center for Civil Society Studies is involved in
research, training and education  relating to the institute's
Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project, the Philanthropy Fellows
Program, the Third Sector Project and the Local Self-Government
Project. Collectively, the projects work with local nonprofit
organizations and institutions in the U.S. and Central and
Eastern Europe.

     In 1994, IPS director Lester Salamon co-authored The
Emerging Sector, which has been identified as the first serious
effort to document the scale of the nonprofit sector; the work
has since been translated into Japanese, Hungarian, French and
Italian. A more recent book, Salamon's Partners in Public
Service, was named outstanding academic book for 1995-96 by the
Association of College and Research Libraries.

     Salamon said training is one of the most important factors
in developing effective nonprofit organizations; managers,
workers and volunteers often lack necessary skills. 

     "A lot of organizations just sort of sputter because they
can't quite come to closure on what their goals are," Salamon
said. "We provide instruction on how to develop a mission
statement that outlines a set of goals, how to translate that
into a set of programs and then how to translate that into a set
of tasks for people to carry out."

     There are various ways to measure the significance of the
nonprofit sector, Salamon said. For example, there are about 7
million nonprofit employees in the U.S., or about 7 percent of
total employment. In most western European countries, the average
is about 4 percent of total employment, he said.

     "There has been a real surge of formation of these
organizations, both in Central Europe and elsewhere in the
world," he said. "I don't think it's an accident. There are some
powerful things going on in the world."

     The increase of nonprofit and social service organizations
may be traced in part to the surge in telecommunications
throughout the world, Salamon said.

     "We go into rural India or rural Czech Republic and find fax
machines and e-mail," he said. "People can communicate just so
much easier."

     There are currently 42 trainers working with nonprofit
leaders in countries including Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Russia and South Africa. Each will,
in turn, be responsible for training hundreds, even thousands of

     Despite inherently different goals, environmental, social
service, women's rights and minority groups often have some of
the same initial challenges, Salamon said.

     "Every organization has to figure out how to structure
itself. It has to make some decisions about what the rules of
internal operation are, what is the role of the board of
directors, what is the role of the executive," he said. "Everyone
has to do a certain amount of strategic planning, regardless of
its purpose."

     Staff management and the structure of activities are also
priorities, Salamon said.

     "It's one of the great failings of organizations that don't
have trained personnel," he said. "They bring volunteers in and
people sit around and feel very underutilized."

     Medical professionals and social workers often tend to wind
up in leadership positions of nonprofit groups, but they are not
necessarily trained to handle the variety of tasks, Salamon said. 

     "We took people who were operating very much on their own
and put them in contact with others in their own countries and
elsewhere, which made them realize for the first time that they
were part of a sector," Salamon said. "It was very empowering to
them, just on a psychological level."

     The training sessions also provided nonprofit workers with
tangible skills on things like how to run effective meetings.

     "We discovered this was not something that people learned
along the way or in school in central Europe," Salamon said.
"Meetings would take place and it would be total pandemonium."

     Additionally, Civil Society Center trainers work with local
government officials to help them function more effectively.

     "We've been able to help them, particularly in areas like
Central and Eastern Europe and now South Africa, where local
government hasn't had an effective voice," Salamon said. "Our
work has been an attempt to equip local governments with the
ability to really function in a more autonomous way than they
have in many countries." 

     Over the next year, Salamon said, indigenous nonprofit
workers will relay what they have learned during their own
workshops and sessions. 

     "A lot of it is decentralized intentionally," he said. "We
are deliberately trying to push the activity down to a local
level and into their hands."

     IPS has incorporated the study of civil society into its
master of arts program in policy studies and training of policy

     "We make a point of making students aware that public
programs increasingly depend on nonprofit organizations to
deliver public services," Salamon said. "That's something that
tends not to be done in [other] existing policy programs.

     "We're taking one step beyond the research in a way
comparable to what the School of Medicine does when it creates a
clinical practice," Salamon said. "It uses its physicians who are
doing research to actually deliver care. In the process of doing
that, you learn a lot. We learn things about how the nonprofit

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