Goal of research: justification of methods for assessing long-term prospects of the sector of non-governmental nonprofit organizations in our country, adequate to the characteristics of its current state and to substantive and methodological context of socio-economic forecasting and accessible information base.
Object of the study are the approaches to assessing the development prospects of the sector of non-profit organizations
- Analysis of Russian and foreign studies, both theoretical and empirical, in key aspects of the problem;
- Empirical data collection using sociological methods;
- Empirical data collection basing on principles of historicism, systemacy and complexity, using comparative historical and comparative legal methods;
- Mathematical methods of data analysis;
- Generalization of foreign experience and critical analysis of foreign and domestic experience of forecasting and designing the development of civil society and nonprofit sector
- Expert methods for scenario forecasting of civil society and nonprofit sector development.
Empirical base of the research:
- Results of the previous studies of nonprofit organizations conducted by the Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector in 2009-2015;
- Official statistics, data of sociological and historical research on the various aspects of development and implementation of social innovations in Russian civil society, and also data of the state of nonprofit sector;
- Sources of historical and legal information;
- Data of NPO study conducted by The Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector in 2015. The sample consisted of 850 organizations of 33 Russian regions. The questioning was conducted using a quote sampling (quotes representative for legal forms and year of registration of an organization). According to these quotes, heads of organizations which are located in urban districts, urban settlements and other municipalities were interviewed. Regions were selected under their 1) urbanization index, 2) quantitative indicator of nonprofit sector development and 3) indicator of economical development of a region, counted as ratio of per capita gross regional product (GRP) to the average for Russia. The basis for the selection of respondents were registers of NPOs and public associations in these subjects of Russian Federation. The selection was carried out mechanicaly. No more than two-thirds of the total number of respondents in each region of the Russian Federation were interviewed in its administrative center (except for Moscow and St. Petersburg).
Results of the research:
1. Subjective role of NPOs in the transformation of civil society and societal system was justified in the framework of activity-structural theoretical approach. It was demonstrated that the purpose and key benchmark in the development of societal systems is the enhancement of public welfare on the basis of progressive and sustainable development of economy and society, effective use of available resources. The level and quality of development of the NPO sector affects the public welfare, both directly and indirectly through the influence on critical microcharacteristic of society: effectiveness of institutional system, as a social-group structure and human potential. Therefore, even a simple increase in the number of active NPOs can be one of the most important guidelines for the development sector;
2. It was found that state policy has noticeable influence on possible scenarios of development of non-commercial organizations in Russia. Understanding the long-term development of the NPO sector involves consideration of medium - and long-term policy of the Executive in relation to the third sector, the readiness of its representatives to dialogue with NPOs – how in the construction of desirable scenarios for the sector and in coordinating the activities of different stakeholders in the promotion to him. What public policy can make a significant contribution to establishing such a balance of power in which the capacity of NPOs and wider civil society could be disclosed to the greatest extent, and positive "energy of the public initiative" is not to be wasted, including overcoming of administrative barriers. For this public policy and decision-making groups should be more open to see the NPO in its social partner. Increasing bargaining power of NPOs in interactions with the government could also encourage growth of the share of NPOs national and international scale;
3. Taking into account the generalization of the historical experience of formation of civil self-organization in late Imperial and Soviet periods of Russian history, taking into account the emerging legal, institutional and socio-cultural perspectives for its development, the tendencies of development of civil self-organization in modern Russia. Specified experience affects the conditions of development of civil self-organization (legal, economic, social, cultural, mental) concerns the General direction, trends and prospects of development of civil self-organization in tsarist and Soviet Russia, models of the relationship of civil society institutions with state authorities and bodies of local self-government;
4. A set of qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the state sector, non-governmental organizations was defined for the purposes of prediction and the current state of the sector was described in the context of these characteristics. These characteristics are as such: the number of NPOs and NPOs; organizational and legal form: the level of awareness of Russians about the activities of the NPO; the level of confidence in NPOs; the level of Russian involvement in the activities of NPOs; the scope of activities WITH NPOs; staff and volunteers FROM NPOs; funding FROM NPOs; self-assessment of the effectiveness of NPO activities.
5. The most innovative fields of activities of NPOs were identified: The objective of the organization; the use of computer technology; the promotion of programmes, projects, services and activities of the organization to increase its visibility, improve reputation, attract new customers.
6. It was highlighted that the main task of the development of the nonprofit sector – overcoming public passivity and paternalism, changing public attitudes on a more active, based on the values of solidarity and self-organization. For this purpose two main stages of development. The first is the formation of a new social consensus based on social constructive activity, positive collective action, productive civic culture. Second, the creation of conditions under which NPOs will be the major drivers, initiators and platforms for testing and implementing social innovations in the country.
7. It has been shown that the seven groups of measures can contribute to achieving developmental milestones. Proposals were developed for the following measures:
- alignment opportunities for the development of NPOs and of enterprises of small and medium-sized businesses. NPOs receive a large incentive for the development of its innovative activities if they will apply support measures and regulations that now apply to the enterprises of small and average business;
- bringing in mutual compliance with the legislation regulating the activities of NPOs;
- improvement of resource support activities of NPOs (donations, endowments, grants, subsidies, property, privileges);
- maintenance and development of infrastructure of support of NPOs. The formation of "eco-system" for the development of NPOs, public initiatives and social entrepreneurship with the participation of different actors;
- fostering a culture of philanthropy in society, promoting values of solidarity and mutual aid, enhance the credibility of NPOs;
- the formation of a new quality of social services on the basis of transparency and competition;
- improving the quality and effectiveness of civic participation and public control.
8. Scenarios for the development of the nonprofit sector were proposed: the inertial variant, paternalistic and confrontational model.
Level of implementation, recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results:
Materials of research were used in the framework of the expert-analytical activities of the working group on preparation of proposals on the development strategies of the Russian Federation in the short and long term. Center staff participated in the activities of the working group of Economic Council "Priorities for structural reforms and sustained economic growth" held on the basis of the Foundation "Center for strategic research". For the full development of the development strategies a comprehensive analysis was carried out of the current state and forecasting the state of the NPO sector. On this basis, recommendations were developed for actions in support of non-profit organizations to solve social problems, including the analysis assumptions and constraints for the practical implementation of such measures.
The materials of this study were used for realization of fifth summer school on the theme «Long-term prospects for the nonprofit sector development: approaches to their evaluation and validation» (5-11 September 2016), organized by the Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector NRU HSE.
The study materials used by employees of the Department of Economics and Management in NPOs in the educational program "State and municipal management" of the Department of State and Municipal Administration, Faculty of Social Sciences. In particular, the materials used in the framework of the all-University lecture course "Civil society in Russia and abroad" (module 1-3) and final qualifying works at the faculty of social Sciences.