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Receive Grants or Perish? The Survival Prospects of African Nongovernmental Organizations

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  • Ronelle Burger
  • Trudy Owens

Abstract

This study examines survival patterns in a large, representative panel of Ugandan nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) between 2002 and 2008. It finds no evidence that more effective or more altruistic NGOs have a greater likelihood of survival. The main determinant of survival appears to be access to grants, and NGOs without grants struggle to survive. An investigation of the grant allocation mechanism suggests that effectiveness does not increase an NGO?s likelihood of receiving a grant. Grant allocation appears to be neither fair nor effective, but rather to be awarded on the basis of habit rather than merit: once a grant has been allocated there is a strong tendency for it to persist. The odds are stacked against small NGOs that have not previously received grants. A picture emerges of two parallel NGO worlds: one where revenues are small, variable and hard to come by and survival is not very likely, and the other where revenues are high, more stable and more accessible and survival is more likely. The study suggests it may be difficult for an NGO to move from the former to the latter.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronelle Burger & Trudy Owens, "undated". "Receive Grants or Perish? The Survival Prospects of African Nongovernmental Organizations," Discussion Papers 11/07, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notcre:11/07
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    File URL: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/credit/documents/papers/11-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martens,Bertin & Mummert,Uwe & Murrell,Peter & Seabright,Paul, 2008. "The Institutional Economics of Foreign Aid," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521055390, May.
    2. Moreira, Marcelo J., 2009. "Tests with correct size when instruments can be arbitrarily weak," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 152(2), pages 131-140, October.
    3. Barr, Abigail & Fafchamps, Marcel & Owens, Trudy, 2005. "The governance of non-governmental organizations in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 657-679, April.
    4. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2002. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 1-3, January.
    5. Burger, Ronelle & Owens, Trudy, 2010. "Promoting Transparency in the NGO Sector: Examining the Availability and Reliability of Self-Reported Data," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1263-1277, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gani Aldashev & Cecilia Navarra, 2017. "Development NGOs: Basic Facts," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-36, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Berta SILVA & Ronelle BURGER, 2015. "Financial vulnerability: an empirical study of Ugandan NGOs," CIRIEC Working Papers 1515, CIRIEC - Université de Liège.
    3. Gani Aldashev & Esteban Jaimovich & Thierry Verdier, 2016. "Small is Beautiful: Motivational Allocation in the Non-Profit Sector," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2016-02, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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