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Reserves for sustainable development of nongovernmental nonprofit organizations in the Russian Federation

Priority areas of development: state and public administration
Department: Centre for Studies of Civil Society and Nonprofit Sector

Goal of Research: to assess the reserves which can be tapped into in the interests of sustainable development of Russian nongovernmental nonprofit organizations. This assessment is to serve as a basis for recommendations to increase the quality and effectiveness of management in the Russian nonprofit sector so that the sector can become one of the essential institutional pillars of the system of production of public goods in Russia.

Object of Research: nongovernmental nonprofit organizations.


A multidisciplinary approach has been implemented involving sociological economic, historic, and public administration perspectives. To assess empirical data mathematical methods of data analysis were used.

Empirical Base of Research

  • data generated by nonprofit surveys implemented by the Center for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector at the NRU HSE in 2007-2019, including data generated by the Monitoring of Civil Society project;
  • Russian legal data bases featuring government regulation of the nonprofit sector;
  • Data gathered through sociological surveys designed to identify major determinants of the effectiveness in the performance of individual functions in nonprofit management and the impact of information technologies on managing nonprofits including their interaction with their organizational environment;
  • Sources from state archives of the Russian Federation, including The State Archive of the Russian Federation (Moscow); The Central History Archive of the City of Moscow; The Russian State History Archive (St.-Petersburg);
  • data bases of the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Project.

Results of Research

  • Through systematizing major conceptual approaches to the analysis of factors determining the sustainability of nonprofits it has been determined, that modern conceptual approaches to the analysis of nonprofit sustainability build on the resource dependency theory, the organizational ecology and organizational social capital theories, as well as on strategic management and stakeholder theory adapting practices borrowed from the management of for-profit organizations.
  • Sustainability of nongovernmental nonprofits can be significantly strengthened by improving the mechanisms of organizations’ interaction external environment, which includes the adoption of practices of systematic relations with different stakeholder groups.
  • Among key reserves which can be tapped into for the benefit of Russian nonprofits is the strengthening of collective management bodies. Such bodies can significantly contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of nonprofit management in Russia, including the improvement of strategic planning, fundraising and ensuring greater transparency and accountability.
  • To achieve greater sustainability and effectiveness of the Russian third sector international nonprofit management approaches ensuring market orientation are of particular interest.
  • For the strengthening of the subsector of nonprofits involved in the provision of social services it is necessary to improve regulation governing government financial support of nonprofit social service providers. In particular regulation should ensure longer-term stability of government funding and reliability of such funding in the long-term planning perspective. Regulation for private donations should also be improved, so that private donor funding may contribute to the diversification of nonprofit income sources.

Level of implementation of the Results

The main results of this research have been published as papers in leading international English language peer-reviewed journals and Russian language academic journals listed in Scopus and Web of Science. Data and recommendationsbased on the results of this study have been incorporated in policy papers presented to relevant policy making bodies in the Russian government in 2019. Further implementation occurred in the delivery of training courses at the Department of Public Administration at the NRU HSE, Chair for Management of NGOs.


Krasnopolskaya I., Meijs L. The effect of enabling factors on social innovation in Russian non-profit organisations // International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. 2019. Vol. 39 . No. 5/6. P. 447-463. doi
Туманова А. С. Свобода союзов в законотворчестве Государственной Думы, in: Российский либерализм и Государственная Дума России: 1906-1917 гг. / материалы Международной научной конференции 11-12 октября 2019 г. Ч. 1. г. Орел.: Издательский дом "Орлик", 2019. С. 164-176. 
Stefan T., Pape U., Vladimir B. Subnational Variations in Government-Nonprofit Relations: A Comparative Analysis of Regional Differences within Russia // Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis: Research and Practice. 2020. Vol. 22. No. 1. P. 47-65. doi