Are You Being Served? Toward a Typology of Nonprofit Infrastructure Organizations and a Framework for Their Assessment




Assessment, Management Support Organizations, Nonprofit Infrastructure Organizations, Nonprofit Sector


Nonprofit infrastructure organizations provide multiple functions to the nonprofit sector: strengthening individual and organizational capacities, mobilizing material resources, providing information and intellectual resources, building alliances for mutual support, bridging the research and practice divide, and connecting nonprofits to the other sectors. Although researchers have described a variety of organizations that support nonprofit activity, they have done little to distinguish them or to explain their primary purposes. In this article, we develop a typology to classify these nonprofit infrastructure organizations, which offers new insight into their various objectives and functions. Based on a review of the relevant literature and interviews with stakeholders, we then construct a necessary framework for the assessment of the infrastructure organizations we have identified. The result is a better understanding of not only the types of nonprofit infrastructure organizations but also the appropriate dimensions for their assessment.

Author Biographies

Christopher R. Prentice, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Christopher R. Prentice is an assistant professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he teaches public and nonprofit management. His research focuses on government–nonprofit relations and nonprofit financial management.  

Jeffrey L. Brudney, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Jeffrey L. Brudney is the Betty and Dan Cameron Family Distinguished Professor of Innovation in the Nonprofit Sector in the Department of Public and International Affairs at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His teaching and research interests include public and nonprofit management and volunteerism.






Research Articles