IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Accountability and the Public Interest in the Nonprofit Sector: A Conceptual Framework

  • Vladislav Valentinov


    (Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe)

In all parts of the world, nonprofit organizations are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their congruence with the public interest through the use of effective accountability mechanisms. The paper clarifies the nature of nonprofit accountability by distinguishing between the substantive and processual understandings of the public interest. The major theories of the nonprofit sector are shown to imply that this sector's activities correspond to the public interest only in its processual understanding, but not in the substantive one. The proposed argument explains why nonprofit accountability has highly contingent nature and why it is increasingly required to embrace more than merely mission outcome-related measures. The practical implications of this argument are twofold. First, nonprofits should not be criticized for pursuing particularistic missions. The public interest legitimacy of nonprofit missions merely requires these to be legal and responsive to their stakeholders. Second, it has been argued that the development of nonprofit accountability mechanisms is importantly driven by the need to communicate the processual dimension of nonprofits' activities, in the sense of crystallizing nonprofits' contributions to democracy building, civic participation, and social capital.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Institute of Accounting and Finance in its journal Accounting and Finance.

Volume (Year): (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 8-14

in new window

Handle: RePEc:iaf:journl:y:2013:i:1:p:8-14
Contact details of provider: Postal: 10, Heroiv Oborony St., Kyiv, 03680
Phone: +380442190044
Fax: +380442590124
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iaf:journl:y:2013:i:1:p:8-14. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Serhiy Ostapchuk)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.