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Crisis on the Border: Specialized Capacity Building in Nonprofit Immigration Organizations

Abstract

Traditional views of the nonprofit–government relationships suggest that while government may depend on nonprofit organizations to provide human services, nonprofits must also conform to government standards, monitoring, and regulation. In this paper, we argue that through specialized investments in capacity building, nonprofit providers can become irreplaceable to government funders. By developing a comparison case study of two organizations serving unaccompanied minor children who cross the U.S.–Mexico Border, we provide evidence of specialized capacity investments in a complex policy environment and discuss the implications of capacity building for both government and nonprofits.

Résumé

Traditionnellement, les perceptions relatives aux relations entre le secteur sans but lucratif et le gouvernement suggèrent que même si ce dernier peut dépendre d’organismes sans but lucratif pour offrir des services humains, cesdits organismes doivent aussi respecter des normes gouvernementales et se soumettre à des contrôles et règlementations. Dans cet article, nous avançons que les fournisseurs sans but lucratif peuvent devenir irremplaçables aux yeux des bailleurs de fonds gouvernementaux par l’entremise d’investissements spécialisés axés sur le renforcement des capacités. En créant une étude de cas comparative de deux organismes au service de mineurs qui traversent la frontière entre les É.-U. et le Mexique sans accompagnateur, nous présentons des preuves d’investissements spécifiquement axés sur les capacités dans un environnement politique complexe, et discutons des implications du renforcement des capacités pour le gouvernement et les organismes sans but lucratif.

Zusammenfassung

Traditionellen Auffassungen zu den Beziehungen zwischen dem gemeinnützigen Bereich und dem Staat zufolge mag die Regierung bei der Bereitstellung von Humandienstleistungen zwar von den gemeinnützigen Organisationen abhängig sein, doch unterliegen die gemeinnützigen Organisationen auch den Regierungsstandards, der staatlichen Überwachung und den Regierungsvorschriften. In diesem Beitrag wird behauptet, dass gemeinnützige Dienstleistungsanbieter aufgrund spezialisierter Investitionen in den Kapazitätsaufbau für die staatlichen Geldgeber unersetzlich werden können. Mittels einer vergleichenden Fallstudie von zwei Organisationen, die minderjährigen Kindern, die alleine die U.S.-amerikanisch-mexikanische Grenze überqueren, beistehen, werden spezialisierte Kapazitätsinvestitionen in einem komplexen politischen Umfeld nachgewiesen. Zudem werden die Auswirkungen des Kapazitätsaufbaus für sowohl die Regierung als auch die gemeinnützigen Organisationen diskutiert.

Resumen

Las opiniones tradicionales sobre las relaciones gobierno-organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro sugieren que mientras que el gobierno puede depender de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro para proporcionar servicios sociales, las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro también deben adaptarse a los estándares, la monitorización y la regulación del gobierno. En el presente documento, argumentamos que mediante inversiones especializadas en creación de capacidad, los proveedores sin ánimo de lucro pueden llegar a ser insustituibles para los financiadores gubernamentales. Mediante el desarrollo de un estudio de caso comparativo de dos organizaciones que atienden a menores no acompañados que cruzan la frontera de Méjico-Estados Unidos, proporcionamos pruebas de las inversiones especializadas en capacidad en un entorno político complejo y analizamos las implicaciones de la creación de capacidad tanto para el gobierno como para las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro.

Arabic

الآراء التقليدية لعلاقات المنظمات الغير ربحية بالحكومة تشير أنه في حين أن الحكومة قد تعتمد على المنظمات الغير الربحية لتقديم الخدمات الإنسانية، يجب أن المنظمات الغير ربحية تتكيف مع المعايير الحكومية، المراقبة والتنظيم. في هذا البحث، نجادل أنه من خلال الإستثمارات المتخصصة في مجال بناء القدرات، ومقدمي خدمات المنظمات الغير ربحية ممكن أن يصبحوا لاغنى عنهم لجهات التمويل الحكومية. من خلال وضع دراسة حالة المقارنة بين المنظمات التي تخدم الأطفال القاصرين الذين يعبرون حدود المكسيك—الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية، نحن نقدم أدلة على قدرات الإستثمارات المتخصصة في بيئة سياسية معقدة، ومناقشة الآثار المترتبة على بناء القدرات لكل من الحكومة والمنظمات الغير ربحية.

Chinese

关于非营利组织与政府之间的关系的传统观点认为,尽管政府可能要依靠非营利组织来进行社会工作,但非营利组织也必须遵照政府的标准、监督和管理。在本文中,通过能力建设中的专用投资,非营利组织提供者可以成为无可取代的政府投资者。针对两个组织(他们为穿越美国—墨西哥边境的无伴侣未成年孩子提供服务)的比较案例研究,我们提供了在复杂政策环境中进行专用能力投资的证据,并讨论政府和非营利组织能力建设的影响。

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. The federal government defines Unaccompanied Children as migrant children aged 0–17 arriving in the United States without an accompanying mother or father.

  2. Grant data were made available by the Tracking Accountability in Government Grants System (TAGGS) developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Grants and Acquisition Policy and Accountability (OGAPA).

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Acknowledgments

This manuscript was initially developed for the conference “Advancing the Field(s) of Nonprofit Management: New Structures, New Solutions” at Indiana University, Bloomington, April 16–18, 2015. The authors wish to thank Anthony Bertelli as well as the conference discussant and participants at the conference, for their immensely helpful feedback and recommendations.

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Correspondence to Dyana P. Mason.

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Mason, D.P., Fiocco, E. Crisis on the Border: Specialized Capacity Building in Nonprofit Immigration Organizations. Voluntas 28, 916–934 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-016-9754-8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-016-9754-8

Keywords

  • Human services
  • Immigration
  • Implementation
  • Contracting
  • Nonprofits
  • Strategy