Government seeks to maximize the well-being of its citizens. The social sector has the same ultimate objective but it, and the multifarious stakeholders who seek to give it voice, may not always be seen by government to have the same agenda.
The attitude of government toward nonprofit organizations affects how it calibrates the conduct of its key functions of funder, promoter, regulator, and player. Government may view nonprofits alternately as “friend,” “filler,” or “foe,” depending on the time, circumstances, and organizations involved.
While government wields power and authority, it can seek to harness the power of the nonprofit sector through an affirmative approach that recognizes the mutuality of objectives. Such an affirmative government is marked by a whole-of-government and citizen-centric approach to decisions and interactions, recognition of the public good that nonprofit organizations provide, an agenda of social inclusion for citizen empowerment, and collaborative governance of the community and its constituents.