Balancing Public Accountability and Nonprofit Autonomy: Milestone Contracting in Oklahoma
Hauser Center for Nonprofit Org. Working Paper No. 6
43 Pages Posted: 14 May 2001
Date Written: April 2001
As government agencies search for ways to work effectively with nonprofit organizations, there is a growing need for strategies that resolve the long-standing tension between the public sector's need for accountability and the nonprofit sector's desire for autonomy. This article considers the way a state agency in Oklahoma worked toward resolving this tension by restructuring its contracting system with nonprofit organizations. Different from both fee-for-service systems that require heavy auditing and simple outcome funding that can distort the complexity of programs, Oklahoma's "milestone contracting" specifies a series of distinct and critical client achievements and confers payment for this set of collaboratively defined results. This approach to public-nonprofit contracting represents a promising way to achieve public accountability while protecting the autonomy nonprofit organizations need to deliver programs that meet local needs.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation