CSO SUSTAINABILITY: 2.7
According to September 2012 data from the National Register, there are about 24,000 registered CSOs in Lithuania, including foundations, professional and business associations, hospitals, schools, local community organizations, and other nonprofits. Based on the number of organizations with public benefit status that have not reported to the Registry for more than five years, it is estimated that roughly 10,000 to 12,000 CSOs in the country are active. The majority of organizations are local, operate with very small budgets, and rely on volunteer work.
The lack of stable and diverse funding sources, irregular cooperation with government, and insufficient stability in the legal environment continue to hinder the sector’s development. CSOs continue to compete with government institutions to provide public services. In 2012, the National NGO Coalition lobbied to change procurement rules and to open up new areas of service provision for CSOs, such as civic education in schools. National-level CSOs compete for contracts from government institutions, although these efforts are frequently unsuccessful. On the regional level, local governments do not see CSOs as service providers. Most local CSOs focus on cultural activities rather than engaging in government decision-making processes.
Some positive developments took place in 2012. Legislation was passed enabling the establishment of endowments. The National Progress Program emphasized the role of CSOs in national development. The NGO Fund of the Lithuanian and Swiss Cooperation Program, the EU Rural Development Program, and the Ministry of Social Security and Labor’s local community program all started this year, and promise to open up significant funding opportunities for professional CSOs. Nevertheless, CSOs consider the sector’s development to be too slow. CSOs are aware that their own limited organizational capacities, lack of solidarity within the sector, and passivity also deter desired developments.
Last updated: July 11, 2013