Devolution of Services to Children and Families: The Experience of NPOs in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

  • Caroline Burnley
  • Carol Matthews
  • Stephanie McKenzie


This study focuses on the current experience of Nanaimo’s nonprofit family and child service organizations (N = 29) providing services on behalf of government and their adaptation to this devolution. The effects and consequences of contracting on organizational practices, accountability, and services were explored through interviews and focus groups with executive directors, board members, line staff, government representatives, and the United Way. Results show that a significant proportion of funding comes from provincial government contracts. The funding climate is uncertain, and there is considerable confusion, stress, and time involved with the contracting process. Accountability requirements are demanding and nonprofit organizations (NPOs) express concern about a shift to a business management model. Recommendations include a need for increased collaboration between NPOs, a body that speaks for the voluntary sector, and improved relationships between NPOs and government funders.


nonprofit funding nonprofit accountability nonprofit boards devolution for-profit competition collaboration Canada 


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malaspina University-CollegeNanaimoCanada
  2. 2.Malaspina University-CollegeNanaimoCanada
  3. 3.University of ReginaReginaCanada
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyMalaspina University-CollegeNanaimoCanada
  5. 5.Centre for Continuing StudiesMalaspina University-CollegeNanaimoCanada

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