Governments are well acquainted with their role as both enablers and regulators of the private and nonprofit sectors. This involves enactment of legislation that shapes the behavior of private businesses and philanthropic and charitable organizations, and the provision of the financial and capacity support that are needed for their innovation, growth, and long-term development.
Governments need to take on the same role with regard to the fourth sector. This involves recognizing for-benefits as a distinct class of organization and taking steps to level the playing field on which they operate. Specific actions that governments can take to enhance the space for the fourth sector are as follows:
1. Recognize for-benefits as a distinct (yet diverse) class of organization.
2. Level the playing field for for-benefit organizations.
3. Give the fourth sector a permanent home in government.
4. Hold for-benefits accountable for their impacts.
5. Coordinate and collaborate nationally and globally.
6. Raise awareness about the fourth sector’s role across government and with the public.
7. Expand training and educational opportunities for students and fourth sector practitioners.
8. Enhance knowledge through research and data collection on the fourth sector and its supportive ecosystem.
9. Mobilize resources to for-benefits through incentives for investors and lenders.
Support capacity and field building efforts at the local, state and national levels.
10. Support capacity and field building efforts at the local, state and national levels.