Nonprofits face increasing pressure to compete in the market, while they must maintain their civic commitment. Focusing on the arts and cultural sector, this study conducts the first large-scale, comprehensive empirical measurement of nonprofits’ engagement in various roles. The article uses a previously validated 18-item role index to categorize nonprofits as primarily engaged in either civic or market functions, so that a subsequent regression analysis can identify the common characteristics of civically active nonprofit arts service organizations. The data come from (a) qualitative interviews with leaders of arts nonprofits, (b) a random national sample of more than 900 arts nonprofits, and (c) Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns of the sample nonprofits. The findings suggest that civically active arts nonprofits have diverse networks, recognize civic engagement as the industry norm, and are consciously aware of their nonprofit status. The results suggest how nonprofits can balance their equally important market- and civic-oriented functions.
This study discusses and documents the role and diversity of fiscal sponsors within the nonprofit sector. Fiscal sponsors provide critical support to nascent nonprofits, yet relatively little is known about which nonprofits elect to become fiscal sponsors, which type of projects and/or organizations do they choose to sponsor, and what costs are associated with sponsorship. We find that Arts and Philanthropic/Grantmaking subsectors are the most frequent home for fiscal sponsors; however, most subsectors house fiscal sponsors. Interestingly, with rare exception, fiscal sponsors charge a non-trivial fee based on revenues raised by the sponsored organization in exchange for administrative support services. The administrative support services provided cluster around financial management (bookkeeping, tax, bill paying). Overall, this study sheds light on an important support function for nascent nonprofits. The study concludes with future research streams that can further our collective understanding of a growing and critical support function for early stage nonprofits.
Nonprofit sector organizations tackle intractable problems by seeking support from external funding agencies, resulting in funders holding power through resource control. Nonprofits also access resources and coordinate activities through building networks with other nonprofits. Such networks have been viewed as emergent with an underlying assumption that the nonprofits determine when and with whom to partner. Given the power of funders, however, how much control do the nonprofits have in determining whether or not to partner? Document analysis of 83 application packets used by funders in the United States to collect and assess nonprofit suitability for funding shows significant differences between private- and public-sector control over nonprofits decisions to network. Unlike private-sector foundations, public-agency funding documents mandate awardees to network, which has practical and theoretical implications. Although the idea of building a network implies autonomous acts on the part of nonprofits, some are prone to hierarchical influences through grant-making policy.
The membership diversity of voluntary associations is of central interest in the literature investigating the importance of involvement in voluntary associations for civic life. Due to the limited availability of data concerned with the membership composition of voluntary associations, many researchers have adopted a proxy approach that is based on an aggregation of the characteristics of survey respondents who belong to particular types of associations. However, this proxy approach has not yet been validated to assess whether it actually captures voluntary association membership diversity. We address this gap by comparing the proxy approach with a more direct approach for measuring association diversity by using data from the United States Citizenship, Involvement, Democracy Survey and the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey. Our analyses reveal that the proxy measures are not correlated with direct measures of voluntary association membership diversity.
How do nonprofit practitioners learn to understand themselves as nonprofit professionals? Although the literature has explored the extent and repercussions of nonprofits becoming more business-like and professionalized, little attention has been placed on the process through which this professionalization occurs. Using an autoethnography based on my practice as cofounder and eventual manager of a small nonprofit organization, this article narrates the range of practices and mechanisms through which I came to understand myself as a nonprofit professional. Following Mitchell Dean, who draws heavily on Michel Foucault’s later work, this article argues that professionalization is taught to nonprofit practitioners through two intertwined mechanisms: the "technologies of performance," which include funding, and evaluation and monitoring procedures; and "technologies of agency," which involve the often subtle socialization mechanisms into the sector. It thus deepens our understanding of how the transition toward being more business-like is occurring.
In recent years, colleges and universities have begun investing significant resources into an innovative pedagogy known as experiential philanthropy. The pedagogy is considered to be a form of service-learning. It is defined as a learning approach that provides students with opportunities to study social problems and nonprofit organizations and then make decisions about investing funds in them. Experiential philanthropy is intended to integrate academic learning with community engagement by teaching students not only about the practice of philanthropy but also how to evaluate philanthropic responses to social issues. Despite this intent, there has been scant evidence demonstrating that this type of pedagogic instruction has quantifiable impacts on students’ learning or their personal development. Therefore, this study explores learning and development outcomes associated with experiential philanthropy and examines the efficacy of experiential philanthropy as a pedagogic strategy within higher education. Essentially, we seek to answer the question, Can philanthropy be taught?
Financial measures are routinely used as a proxy for nonprofit organizations’ capacity to serve, but the link between financial indicators and program outcomes has been largely unexamined. This study examines empirically whether, and to what extent, financial measures predict program success. The analysis draws on a unique data set from the Cultural Data Project (2004-2012) that covers nearly 5,000 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. The empirical results confirm that financial attributes are indeed linked to program outcomes. Yet, some of the factors that contribute to financial stability and efficiency have no or negative relationships with program outcomes; this finding suggests that some efforts to maintain financial strength may be made at the expense of program performance. This study also draws attention to the inconsistent way revenue diversification is being measured and calls attention to the value in focusing on the primary funding mechanism of a nonprofit organization.
In the recent financial crisis period, when traditional economic organizations were not able to meet stakeholders’ expectations, not-for profit organizations such as cooperatives became an optimal solution as they are expected to serve social and economic performance simultaneously. This theoretical assumption is questioned based on the downturn pressures that may weaken cooperatives’ social performance in favor of economic performance. This degeneration process is countered by some traditional cooperatives that have developed regeneration dynamics. The aim of our study is to explore how small and medium cooperatives face degeneration and develop regeneration dynamics in periods of crisis. To fulfill the objective of the article, four small and medium Basque and Breton cooperatives are studied in depth.
Organizational capacity is the set of structures and functions a nonprofit organization needs to effectively serve the community. Although capacity is defined in the nonprofit literature, no standardized measures exist, making it difficult to accurately assess organizational capacity. Data from a survey of nonprofit human service organizations (N = 1,221) that participated in a capacity-building demonstration project are used to assess the fit of two conceptual models of capacity using confirmatory factor analysis. Results indicated that a model that measured capacity with more than 40 performance-related indicators did not fit the data well. However, a model using fewer (19) indicators of organizations’ self-assessed capacity-building progress fit the data well and was invariant by tenure. Implications for measuring nonprofit organizational capacity are discussed.
This article analyzes how stakeholder management is applied in the case of special youth guidance homes in Belgium. It describes a specific situation in which a major stakeholder—adolescents in the homes—is part of the process. Our research illustrates the different organizational roles and the complementarities between stakeholder management and participative management. Although stakeholder management is important for strategic decision making, participation is more important on an operational management level. Our cases illustrate that important stakeholders, for example, the customers—the adolescents and their parents—as well as employees in the homes evaluate participation on an operational level as being more important than participation in the board or in strategic management decision making in the organization. By disentangling the distinction between the operational level and the policy level of stakeholder management, our research links participative management and stakeholder management while clarifying the application of stakeholder management in the nonprofit sector.
Community theaters proliferate in every state in the nation, yet they are rarely considered in civil society research. Participation in civil society is capable of producing individual (psychological empowerment) and community-level outcomes, yet less is known about how community theaters might be capable of producing the same. Guided by the empirically tested dimensions of intra-organizational empowerment, this qualitative study interrogates four internal processes of voluntary membership in a community theater (shared beliefs, opportunity role structure, social support, and leadership). Directed content analysis of 14 in-depth interviews support and extend our understanding of existing theory for this less examined population. Implications for policy, practice, and future research are discussed.
Previous scholarship highlights the effect that religious environments have on community-level outcomes such as neighborhood stability, economic development, and crime. In the present study, I extend work on the contextual effects of religion by examining how the religious composition of U.S. counties is related to the distribution of anti-poverty nonprofit organizations. Anti-poverty nonprofits represent an important source of support for communities across the United States, and history suggests that religious people and groups have played a significant role in their development. Still, it is unclear whether some religious environments may be more nurturing of these organizations than others. Utilizing spatial regression models and county-level data, I seek to address this question. I find that the geographic concentration of some religious traditions is related to a more robust presence of anti-poverty nonprofit organizations than others.
Volunteer role identity has long been of interest to social scientists seeking to understand volunteer commitment and the psychological consequences of volunteering. The study reported here tests the theory that predicts that people identify more strongly with the volunteer role as compensation for the absence of other productive roles. Using a sample (n = 572) of Dutch volunteers over the age of 50, we find a strong association between age and volunteer role identity. For older volunteers, the volunteer role is a more important part of who they are. We find that retirement plays an important role in this. The retirement effect, in turn, is accounted for by the extra time retirees invest in the role, signaling a compensation strategy. We find a similar substitution effect for the unemployed/disabled, but not for widowhood. The study makes a contribution by situating the explanation of volunteer role identity within a life-course framework.
Although behaving entrepreneurially has become increasingly important for many nonprofit organizations, research on entrepreneurial orientation (EO) lacks a clear understanding of the construct in the nonprofit context. This study examines how EO is shaped on the organizational level of a nonprofit organization and contributes to the creation of a social venture. With a qualitative research design, we explore the role of entrepreneurial elements manifested in the pre-start-up phase of social venture creation according to their importance for upstream and downstream processes. Our findings show how risk taking has a financial and a social dimension and we identify collaboration as a pivotal additional element for social EO along with proactiveness and innovativeness.
This study investigates program-related investments (PRIs), which are mechanisms that foundations can use to achieve charitable purposes while generating moderate financial returns. There is a growing interest in PRIs and other similar market-based approaches among practitioners of philanthropy recently. We examine the internal and external factors that influence PRIs by U.S. foundations through both quantitative and qualitative analyses. By analyzing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Foundation Center data, we find that foundations with more financial and human resources are more likely to adopt PRIs initially and also more intensively engage in PRIs. Foundations of 25 years or older invest less money in PRIs than younger foundations. Findings from the interviews with eight foundations reveal additional factors influencing foundations’ PRI activities, including staffing and expertise, the board and executive leadership, changes in the legal and economic environment, sectoral trends and peer networks, and the interests and needs of PRI recipients.
Ethnic nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) have played a crucial role in the social fabric of ethnic communities. Despite the importance of ethnic CBOs, limited empirical knowledge exists about these types of organizations. This study seeks to fill this gap by exploring how ethnic CBOs engage their target populations in stigma-associated services using a multidimensional cultural competence framework. A case study approach is used to explore how a Korean ethnic organization engages older adults in mental health services. The study provides an in-depth examination of the organization’s responses to the increasing need for mental health services for older Korean adults by providing culturally grounded services in a nonstigmatized environment. The study contributes to current literature by (a) using a multidimensional approach to examine community, organizational, and individual factors that influence mental health service use and (b) exploring how ethnic organizations consider these domains to serve older Korean adults.
What kinds of social organizations or nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in China have a greater influence on government policy making and policy outcome? Using a random sample survey of 2,588 social organizations from Beijing, Zhejiang, and Heilongjiang, this article reveals that the new tendency of social marketization, including social entrepreneurship and achieving government contracts for purchasing services, is positively related to the perceived influence on government policy making and the perceived likelihood of achieving policy change. Organizational autonomy is negatively associated with the perceived policy influence and policy change, and corporatist connections are not statistically significant in the estimation. This research finds a positive relationship between social marketization and the perception of policy influence of social organizations, and compares social marketization with civil society and corporatism, the two mainstream approaches to explaining NGO–government relations in China.
This article examines the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in contesting healthcare commercialization in Malaysia. The article uses a novel framework to analyze the emergence of CSOs to protect the interests of the disadvantaged against commercialization initiatives. CSO action has expanded following the formation of social networks and election into parliament of individuals who share their views to oppose healthcare commercialization in the country. Against the odds, the evidence suggests that a significant presence of CSOs has emerged to challenge healthcare commercialization. Political changes have also given CSOs the opportunity to campaign for the protection of the interests of the disadvantaged in Malaysia’s healthcare development processes.
Despite methodological advances in studying the relationship between religious attendance and volunteering, its dynamic nature still needs to be elucidated. We apply growth curve modeling to examine whether trajectories of religious attendance and volunteering are related to each other over a 15-year period in a nationally representative sample from the Americans’ Changing Lives data (1986-2002). Multivariate results showed that the rates of change in religious attendance and volunteering were positively related, and excluding religious volunteering did not alter the finding. It was also found that the initial level of religious attendance was positively associated with the rate of increase in volunteer hours over the period. Mediation analyses revealed that participation in voluntary associations explained the dynamic relationships between religious attendance and volunteering. These results provide evidence that involvement in organized religion and volunteering are dual activities that change together over the adult life course.
This article presents a study of supported social enterprise, a hybrid organization that not only either employs or trains members of marginalized social groups, often on disability pensions and social assistance, but also has social welfare characteristics. These organizations sell services and goods, like other forms of social enterprise, but rely heavily on external support from government programs, foundations, and a parenting nonprofit. The article presents an empirical study using a survey and interviews of participants in these organizations from Ontario, Canada, and notes that even though they earn minimally from work in these organizations, they view the experience positively. The final discussion centers on the concept of supported social enterprise and raises the question as to whether such organizations should be viewed primarily as a form of social enterprise or as a modified form of social welfare organization.
Financial vulnerability of nonprofit organizations arising from governmental funding instability is examined using hazard analysis. Funding instability is characterized by time-at-risk, and vulnerability is expressed by hazard rate measuring the speed of nonprofit organizations closure. The analysis provides estimation of instantaneous probability of a nonprofit organization failure at a given point in time. Drawing on 2,660 Israeli nonprofit organizations, we found that the relationship between hazard rate and time-at-risk has an inverted U–shape curve; hazard rate increases with time-at-risk, reaches a maximum then descends.
Using data from a nationally representative sample of American adult males (N = 2,512), this study examines (a) whether duration of membership in the Boy Scouts of America is associated with adult civic engagement and (b) whether five characteristics of positive youth development (confidence, competence, connection, character, and caring) account for the relationship between duration of Scouting membership and adult civic engagement. The results from structural equation modeling indicate that duration of participation in Scouting is positively associated with four indicators of civic engagement: community involvement, community volunteering, community activism, and environmental activism. Among the five positive characteristics, confidence and competence were found to fully mediate the effects of Scouting on all four types of civic engagement, whereas the other three only to partly mediate the effects.
The present study examined differences in the volunteering experience during an emergency situation using a life stage perspective. The volunteering experience was examined in a sample of 472 volunteers who volunteered during Operation Protective Edge in Israel, based on their motives for volunteering, satisfaction with the intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of volunteering, and intentions to volunteer in the future. The findings indicate that motives of social solidarity and of escape from reality through volunteering are higher among volunteers in late adolescence than among volunteers in middle and late adulthood. No differences were found in the motive of personal empowerment through volunteering. Men tend to express a higher intention to volunteer in the future than women. The findings indicate a need to expand the theory that explains differences in the volunteering experience along the life cycle in routine situations, such that it will also be compatible with volunteering in emergency situations.
This article focuses on the involvement and management of spontaneous volunteers (SVs). It develops a new theory—which we call the "involvement/exclusion" paradox—about a situation which is frequently manifested when SVs converge in times of disaster. After reviewing research and policy guidance relating to spontaneous volunteering, we present findings from a study of responses to winter flood episodes in England. Taking together the empirical findings and the literature, the article analyzes elements inherent in the involvement/exclusion paradox and develops a conceptual model to illustrate and explain the paradox. Implications for managers and future research are discussed.
Building on previous research that examined role identity in relation to volunteering, this study explored the impact of identity and personality for three giving behaviors: donating money, volunteering time, and donating blood. This study examined the contribution of general identity as a helpful person, role identity specific to each behavior, and personality traits of conscientiousness and agreeableness within the decision-making framework of the theory of planned behavior (TPB). Participants (N = 203) completed a questionnaire measuring role identity (general and behavior specific), conscientiousness and agreeableness, and the TPB constructs of attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, and intention to donate. Three months later, participants reported whether they had engaged in each behavior. The results demonstrated that identity as a donor (i.e., specifically of money, time, or as a blood donor) emerged as more important in determining people’s giving actions than general role identity as a helpful person or global personality characteristics.
Elinor "Lin" Ostrom, winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics, spent her career developing ideas and tools to address the concept of governance—what Oliver Williamson describes as the "provision of good order and workable arrangements." Nonprofit and Voluntary Action (NVA) scholars are similarly concerned with good order and workable arrangements but draw on different, if not more disparate, scholarly traditions. This special issue sheds light on the promise that integration of the tools developed by Ostrom and NVA scholarship holds. In this article, including its primer appendix, we provide a broad introduction to the tools created by Lin and her collaborators at The Ostrom Workshop (the "Workshop") in the interest of exploring their utility for NVA scholars’ central questions.
The neighborhood commons, and dog parks in particular, provide a good laboratory to explore the drivers of voluntarism and trust, as well as the situational and demographic correlates that promote or inhibit voluntarism. This analysis connects a central theme of Ostrom’s work on institutions for overcoming social dilemmas to the literature on voluntary actions and the health of small communities. Survey results from more than 500 users of 14 dog parks in the Atlanta area are examined to understand how variation in park and user characteristics predict variation in individual contributions to the commons, including pro-social attitudes and behavior and dispute resolution behavior. Our analysis shows how institutions foster community commons, which are correlated with both voluntarism and the voluntary enforcement of norms on users. These results from a study in the field contribute to a growing literature that explores the circumstances for successful voluntary supply and maintenance of public goods.
This article explores the Ostroms’ perspective on nonprofit enterprises and on the place of the "third sector" within the broader ecology of governmental, for-profit, and nonprofit forms of social organization, focusing on three levels: the micro level based on a taxonomical analysis of the nature of (quasi)public goods and of the implications of their heterogeneity for their provision and consumption through nonprofit arrangements (with a special focus on the notion of "coproduction"); the mezzo level—the analysis of the various organizational structures emerging around (quasi)public goods dealt with by compounded units of production, provision, and consumption (with a focus on the notion of "public economy"); and the macro level—the introduction of the notion of "polycentricity" as a meta-framework inviting a reconceptualization of the relationships between the for-profit, nonprofit, and governmental organizations in diverse and dynamic institutional environments.
The evolution of activity within the nonprofit sector (and nonprofit-type activity without the sector) has outpaced the ability of nonprofit theory to describe it. In contrast to legalistic, sector-based theories of the nonprofit, this article proposes an institutional theory of the nonprofit that defines its distinction from public and private institutions through (a) the voluntary (rather than coercive) assignment of roles and (b) the use of the good or service by non-payers. The voluntary and redistributive nature of such nonprofit-type institutions makes them primarily compatible with the distribution of goods that are non-subtractable and excludable (toll goods).
Using a nationwide survey of 1,539 respondents, this study uses variables from the situational theory of problem solving to examine communication related to three of the largest U.S.-based fundraising events benefiting three nonprofit health organizations. The findings extend the situational theory of problem solving by adding health consciousness as an antecedent and provide empirical support for its increased predictive power in explaining communicative action, which may lead to future participation in fundraising events. In addition, by investigating how health-related communicative action varies across demographics and by media use, this study contributes a range of practical implications in terms of how nonprofit and health communication practitioners might better segment publics and utilize different media channels to disseminate health-related information more effectively.
The declining number of U.S. volunteers is troubling, necessitating improved understanding of drivers of volunteer retention such as volunteer engagement. We utilized the job demands-resources model to investigate the moderating role of community service self-efficacy (CSSE) on the relationships between two demands (organizational constraints and role ambiguity) and volunteer engagement. Volunteers (N = 235) from three U.S. nonprofit organizations participated in a survey as part of a volunteer program assessment. Volunteers who encountered greater organizational constraints and role ambiguity were less engaged. In addition, CSSE attenuated the negative relationship between organizational constraints and engagement, but not the negative association between role ambiguity and engagement. When faced with organizational constraints, volunteers with higher CSSE reported greater engagement than those with lower CSSE. Organizations should therefore assess and support volunteers’ CSSE to bolster their engagement when faced with demands. Further recommendations for increasing volunteer engagement are discussed.
To contribute to the debate as to whether volunteering is an outcome of democratization rather than a driver of it, we analyze how divergent democratization pathways in six countries of the former Soviet Union have led to varied levels of volunteering. Using data from the European Values Study, we find that Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia—which followed a Europeanization path—have high and increasing levels of civil liberties and volunteering. In Russia and Belarus, following a pre-emption path, civil liberties have remained low and volunteering has declined. Surprisingly, despite the Orange Revolution and increased civil liberties, volunteering rates in Ukraine have also declined. The case of Ukraine indicates that the freedom to participate is not always taken up by citizens. Our findings suggest it is not volunteering that brings civil liberties, but rather that increased civil liberties lead to higher levels of volunteering.
We study financial efficiency in the nonprofit sector and document that organizations that rely mainly on commercial revenues are more efficient in managing their overhead and administrative expenses compared with nonprofits that rely mainly on donations. We also record a positive relationship between the extent of a nonprofit’s reliance on donations and its efficiency in generating them. Our findings suggest economies of scale in the nonprofit sector and also a positive (negative) relationship between receiving government grants (membership income) and overall efficiency. We discuss what our findings imply for social enterprises and traditional nonprofits.
Ostrom’s social-ecological systems (SES) framework infrequently has been applied to civil society research. But its focus on collective action may help explain why some national parks are more successful at attracting philanthropic resources to supplement stagnant public funding. We examine two types of charitable supporting organizations: "Friends of" Groups (FOGs), which typically emphasize fundraising, and Cooperating Associations (CAs), which typically emphasize visitor support. We identify their partnership patterns across more than 300 national park units. Our findings suggest that FOGs and CAs fill different niches. CAs are drawn to more popular parks or memorials, and FOGs are found in parks with smaller budgets or offering fewer activities. Actor characteristics play a secondary role in explaining nonprofit incidence. The holistic approach of the SES perspective demonstrates the importance of connecting resource systems to institutional settings and actor attributes.
This article discusses the nature of volunteering by exploring the features of the exchanges involved and their precise meanings. The context for this analysis is the U.K. music festival industry, where volunteers are offered specific "exchange deals" for providing their work efforts. The article argues that it is in such exchanges, and in their inherent meanings, that the nature of volunteering can be appreciated as a complex and multi-dimensional phenomenon. By theorizing volunteering as possessing Janus-face features represented by its symbolic and economic faces, this research demonstrates that the practice of volunteering is inherently hybrid. This article advances conceptual knowledge on volunteering by showing the irreducibility of the concept to either of these symbolic or economic dimensions. It offers a new perspective that addresses apparently incompatible readings of volunteering, recognizing volunteers’ different experiences and how they feel about the nature of their exchange.
We offer a microfoundation of social entrepreneurship through the work of Vincent and Elinor Ostrom on polycentricity (Ostromian polycentricity) and that of Friedrich Hayek on the economics of knowledge (Hayekian knowledge) that reveals both the main strength and main weakness of social entrepreneurship. Problematizing social entrepreneurship in terms of the political economy of knowledge and based on Ostromian polycentricity and Hayekian knowledge, we first find the main strength of social entrepreneurship is that local, decentralized social entrepreneurs usually are the most appropriate and best-positioned—indeed, the most efficient—actors to solve their communities’ social problems. Also based on the work of the Ostroms and Hayek, we identify the main weakness of social entrepreneurship: the lack of institutional safeguards to social entrepreneurship. The localized decision-making process, however, might mitigate to some degree the potential for large-scale abuse.
We explore how nonprofits can effectively govern delegation relationships. We extend stewardship theory by conceptualizing stewardship costs—costs in delegation relationships based on stewardship behavior. As stewards are theorized as other-regarding, self-actualizing, and intrinsically motivated, so far, literature almost exclusively points to the positive performance potential of stewardship behavior. Addressing this shortcoming, we develop propositions showing how stewardship selection costs rooted in the psychological characteristics of stewardship behavior and stewardship management costs rooted in situational factors of stewardship behavior occur during relationship formation and maintenance, and how they counteract the potential to increase performance. We identify and systematize opportunity costs of delayed growth, limited growth potential, and lost standardization gains, as well as increased selection and management costs. To demonstrate the theoretical potential and empirical relevance of our framework, we illustrate our arguments by referring to social franchising, a scaling strategy considered relevant for nonprofits as well as social enterprises.
Inclusive financial sectors are essential to poverty alleviation. While microcredit can be governed as a private good, self-managed civil society organizations propose an alternative way of managing financial services. Brazil’s Community Development Banks (CDBs) are growing and dynamic manifestations of these nonprofit organizations. Based on field research in Brazil, this article uses Elinor Ostrom’s design principles of successful self-governing common-pool resource organizations to analyze CDBs’ microcredit system. Our results suggest that private goods could be altered when they are governed by community self-managed enterprises. They become hybrid goods as they mix the characteristics of private and common goods. This change is facilitated by specific organizational arrangements such as self-governance that emerge from grassroots dynamics and the creation of collective-choice arenas. These arrangements help strengthen the inclusion properties of nonprofit microcredit services.
Elinor and Vincent Ostrom spent their careers working in fields outside third-sector studies, yet a significant body of their work has important implications for nonprofit organizations and the wider third sector. From their academic base at the Workshop on Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, they built a large body of research and theory on a broad range of topics that bear on nonprofit and voluntary action theory, including self-governance, collaboration, coproduction, polycentrism, federalism, and numerous others. This article examines and critiques selected aspects of their role in the vast international network of commons studies and projects, including a body of my own work stretching back several decades on the commons theory of voluntary action (CTVA). Recent work on new commons, information commons, and knowledge commons points toward a convergence of the Ostrom’s work on commons with commons research and theory in our field.
Nonprofit organizations operate within the confines of formalized agreements structured by parent organizations, funders, and partners. Compliance with the rules comprising these agreements leads to organizational legitimacy and the resulting access to resources. At times, compliance can be challenging because internal and external stakeholders exert pressures on nonprofits that can sometimes dissuade rule adherence. These pressures can be amplified when a nonprofit is an affiliate. Affiliate nonprofits must meet accountability demands of their local constituencies while aligning missions, organizational structures, governance, and programmatic activities with parent organizations that might be geographically distant. Affiliate status thus adds a layer of complication to an already complex environment. We conduct an institutional analysis as a basis for assessing how nonprofit affiliates interpret global rules for maintaining affiliate status and factors most important to them in maintaining continued compliance with such rules. Our research is conducted in the context of United Way (UW) affiliate organizations in Indiana.
Uncertainty makes objectives harder to reach. This article examines whether uncertainty in subsidies leads to mission drift in microfinance institutions (MFIs). Using a worldwide sample of 1,151 MFIs active in 104 countries, we find that interest rates increase with aid volatility while average loan size (ALS) is inversely related to aid volatility. These results suggest that MFIs consider ALS as a signaling device for commitment to their social mission, but use interest rates as an adjustment variable to cope with uncertainty. The policy prescription to donor agencies wishing to curtail the rise in interest rates is to deliver subsidies predictably and transparently.
A limited body of research has examined satisfaction with work–life balance of expatriate workers who live abroad, residing outside the typical "family" or "life" domain. This study aims to demonstrate how and under which organizational circumstances job autonomy can increase work–life balance satisfaction of humanitarian aid expatriates. We hypothesize that especially in humanitarian work, trust in management can buffer potential negative effects of high autonomy. We test our hypothesis by means of ordinal logistic regression, using survey data collected among expatriates of the Operational Center Amsterdam of Médecins Sans Frontières (N = 142). Results reveal that high levels of autonomy are positively related with work–life balance satisfaction when trust in the management of the organization is high. When trust in management is low, the effect of high autonomy on work–life balance satisfaction is negative. This implies that trust in management indeed buffers negative effects of high autonomy among expatriate humanitarian aid workers.
The study investigates how governance mechanisms can affect community representation within nonprofit organizations, focusing on Italian Bank Foundations where the community is on board by law. To investigate what governance arrangements increase substantive and symbolic representation, the study adjusts Guo and Musso’s framework by considering several formal mechanisms for appointing board members and the residence of board members as a new aspect of descriptive representation. A content analysis of the statutes and an email survey show that formal mechanisms contribute to substantive representation, whereas descriptive and participatory arrangements enhance symbolic representation. In addition, this study explores the moderating influence of local stakeholders in appointing board members, offering a wider point of view on the relationships among the five dimensions of representation.
Volunteer organizations operate in a challenging environment and their management practices toward volunteers have become increasingly influenced by the private sector. This case study explores the impact of brand heritage on the experience of volunteering in such managed environments. We use data from the U.K. Scouts to show that brand heritage has a positive bearing on the level of engagement volunteers experience and on their reported attitude to the way(s) in which they are managed within the volunteer organization. We then use these findings to establish the salience of brand heritage to both long established and recently formed organizations, extending current volunteer management theory; consequently, we suggest volunteer managers utilize the power of brand heritage through unlocking its ability to retain engaged and satisfied volunteers.
International Voluntary Service (IVS) is slowly becoming more popular as more and more people take breaks from their studies or careers to volunteer abroad. However, research on the motivation of volunteers is quite limited and mainly conducted by means of qualitative methods. This study attempts to analyze the motivations that prompt people to serve internationally. I used the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) plus some items that refer to specific motives gathered from literature. The results show multiple and mixed motivations that, according to the correlational analysis, can be grouped into two motivational patterns, one "outward focused" and the other "inward focused." These patterns are variously associated with some perceived facets of the experience abroad. Finally, the importance of understanding the various motivations and how matching them to the sending program might enhance volunteer satisfaction is discussed.
Although previous research has suggested the existence of a positive association between the political activities of parents and children, little is known about other forms of civic engagement. In particular, the literature lacks an international comparative study on the intergenerational transmission of civic involvement. Using Bayesian multilevel models on data from the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) 2006 special module on social participation, this article tests hypotheses on the patterns of civic engagement of parents and children in 18 European countries with different political legacies. Our results show a positive association between the participation in associational activities of parents and children in all the considered countries, above and beyond individual and contextual characteristics. In particular, we do not find an evident East–West gap in the socialization process, suggesting that the Communist past of Eastern and Central European countries has little influence on what can be considered a basic mechanism of civic learning.
Based on the signaling theory and its application in nonprofit organizations, this study examines the relationship between disclosure in nonprofits and ability to attract household donations. Based on 50 random Australian nonprofits, scores were assigned for fiduciary, financial, performance, and total disclosure. A significant correlation was observed between the extent of total household donations received and a change in marketing and fundraising spend. However, there was no significant relationship identified between total household donations and disclosure. As disclosure does not seem to be rewarded by household donors, this article discusses the potential for a national educational campaign to inform donors of the increasing accessibility of this type of information, the benefits of utilizing this type of information, and how best to use it.
In light of high unemployment and declining volunteer rates, this study examines the complex relationship between time, employment, and volunteering. Are unemployed people more likely to volunteer due to newfound time or to obtain some benefit? Alternatively, are the unemployed less likely to volunteer due to their loss of social ties or feelings of insecurity? A framework tying together four competing theories—opportunity cost, exchange, social ties, and attachment—into positive and negative influences is put forth and tested using pooled U.S. data from 2003 to 2013. The duration of unemployment emerges as a key factor, where volunteering decreases over time. Findings suggest organizations should recruit volunteers from untapped and under-represented groups, especially because the supply of volunteers is not endless. For example, unemployed volunteers devote more time but are less likely to receive an invitation to volunteer. Dedicated individuals may not volunteer simply because no one asks them.
We used an online questionnaire study of volunteers working for the German Red Cross (GRC) to analyze whether Internet use is correlated with the commitment of volunteers. We measured commitment multidimensionally in terms of the willingness of the volunteers to donate, their reported willingness to expand their volunteer work, and their satisfaction with their volunteer work. Upon controlling for numerous socioeconomic factors, we found that volunteering-related use of the Internet is positively correlated with commitment while Internet use for leisure-related activities does not exhibit such a positive correlation. We derive our findings using a micro data set that contains information on the intensities and forms of Internet use of volunteers. Our findings contribute to the literature on the implications of Internet use for social capital and the social integration of users.
We examined organizational characteristics as predictors of volunteering in two age-friendly supportive service initiatives—Villages and Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC) Supportive Service Programs. NORC programs and Villages are similar in their aim to promote aging in place, as well as in their emphasis on engaging older adults as both recipients of support and contributors to the initiatives. Guided by a conceptual framework on barriers and facilitators to volunteering, our analysis considered both organizational "nature" factors, which are relatively stable over time and difficult to change (e.g., budget size), as well as organizational "nurture" factors, which are more open to managerial influence (e.g., staff receptivity to volunteers). Based on data from a 2012 national organizational survey, results indicated that organizational characteristics in terms of resources and capacity, as well as value placed on volunteers, were associated with volunteering in Villages and NORC programs. The pattern of predictors, however, differed for volunteers who were also older adult participants in comparison with members. For example, we found that having a larger staff was associated with lower levels of volunteer involvement among older adult participants but was not associated with volunteerism among members. Implications for theory and research are discussed, with an emphasis on understanding how correlates of volunteering are conditioned on volunteers’ broader roles within organizations.
The relationship between chairs and chief executive officers (CEOs) has been largely neglected in research on nonprofit governance. Yet, a growing body of research on corporate governance in the private and public sectors suggests that this relationship is crucial both to the effective functioning of the board and the leadership of the organization. Much of the research on chair–CEO relationships has used cross-sectional research designs ignoring the fact that these relationships will evolve over time. This article responds to some of these challenges. It presents the results from longitudinal research examining the relationship between the chair and chief executive in a nonprofit organization. It shows how this relationship is "negotiated" and develops over time in response to contextual changes.
This article reviews the Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS), a comprehensive online archive of federal grant activity. Relatively few nonprofit scholars have used this extensive data source due to significant structural limitations in the data. This article aims to describe and mitigate those limitations while stimulating new research on government awards to nonprofits. The article profiles the process of federal award flows and reporting. We also identify the primary advantages and shortcomings in the current data structure. Finally, we post an electronic matching algorithm that links individual federal award records to recipient Form 990 financial data. This process allows researchers to analyze the influence of federal awards with greater fidelity than has been previously accomplished in the literature.
In this article, we address a gap in our knowledge of workplace philanthropy. We explore the factors that distinguish givers from nongivers in workplace campaigns using observational data from a population of employees at a large, public university that has sponsored two annual giving campaigns from 2001 to 2008. The analyses correct for common issues—such as nonresponse and self-reporting biases—that frequently arise in empirical studies of philanthropy. This article is intended to supplement previous research that focuses on workplace givers. We conclude that several factors distinguish workplace givers from nongivers, such as age, gender, salary, duration of employment, and rank. This fuller exploration of workplace giving contributes to a broader understanding of philanthropic giving and its many manifestations.
Extending Blumer’s group position theory into the domain of civic engagement, the present study identifies an intergroup social-psychological attitude linked to charitable giving: perceived immigrant job competition. Using the 2006 Portraits of American Life Study (N = 2,539), binary logistic regression models estimating the odds of giving money to a stranger indicate a negative association with perceived immigrant job competition for White and Black respondents. No association is found for Hispanics, Asians, or those identifying with other ethnoracial categories. Furthermore, race-related affect is found to mediate this association for White respondents, but not Black respondents, further emphasizing the relevance of the sense of dominant group position and the group position theory of racial prejudice. Future research on diversity and civic engagement should include and test individual-level measures associated with the social psychology of intergroup relations, in addition to the population-level measures of ethnic heterogeneity already employed.
Given that volunteers perform a diverse range of behaviors aimed at helping distinct causes, a more nuanced understanding of how types of volunteer behaviors are similar and different would enrich both basic and applied perspectives on volunteerism. We created and validated an inventory of individuals’ interests in eight different types of volunteering: administrative volunteering, helping animals, interpersonal helping (autonomy or dependency), donating, physical volunteering (built or natural environments), and political volunteering. Grouping these eight types of positions into two general categories (interpersonal and skills-based volunteer positions), we also examined convergent and discriminant validity, linking interest in these positions to constructs from the volunteerism literature (i.e., prosocial personality, volunteer motivations, and volunteer satisfaction). This research demonstrates that volunteer behaviors can be classified into types, certain individuals are interested in different types of volunteer behaviors, and volunteers engaged in behaviors that match their interests express greater volunteer satisfaction.
We evaluate the effect of highly salient disclosure of private college and university president compensation on subsequent donations. Using a differences-in-discontinuities approach to compare institutions that are highlighted in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual "top 10" list of most-highly compensated presidents against similar others, we find that appearing on a top 10 list is associated with reduced average donations of up to US$5.0 million in the first full fiscal year following disclosure, despite greater fund-raising by "top 10" schools. We also find some evidence that top 10 appearances are correlated with slower compensation growth and rising enrollment in subsequent years. We interpret these results as consistent with the hypothesis that donors care about compensation but are typically inattentive to pay levels. We discuss the implications of these findings for the regulation of nonprofits and for our broader understanding of the pay-setting process at for-profit as well as nonprofit organizations.
The reasons why people volunteer their time and services are of great interest and they have been the subject of academic research. This article helps identify some of the underlying reasons for the marked differences in youth volunteering among member states of the European Union. Our objective is to describe the similarities and differences in countries’ youth volunteer rates on individual and national levels. To this end, we identified individual and contextual factors and compared volunteer activities. We used data from the European Values Survey (EVS) for that purpose. As a methodological strategy, we carried out Logit models to estimate individual probabilities of working as a volunteer. The main result shows that social capital variables are the most relevant when young people decide to participate in voluntary activities.
This study examines the revenue structures of nonprofit organizations in the arts subsector to identify theoretically ideal revenue portfolios by examining the risk, return, and covariance of revenue streams. This article examines four major sources of revenue for arts organizations and builds on Kingma’s work on nonprofit revenue portfolios by carrying out the theoretical modeling suggested in his seminal work. Beyond identifying the efficient frontier, this approach can also reveal the composition of theoretically efficient portfolios found along the frontier. These portfolios are optimal in that they maximize revenue growth and minimize variability. This study has practical implications for the understanding of revenue diversification in the nonprofit sector, which has been identified as one mechanism by which nonprofit organizations can mitigate risk and increase survivability. This research also suggests that a commonly used measure of diversity, the Herfindahl-Hirshman index, may not always correspond with theoretical efficiency.
The purpose of this article is to provide a window into the earliest phase of nonprofit organizational formation. Using a sample of 91 nascent nonprofit entrepreneurs and a framework from the entrepreneurship literature identifying the vital capacities for new venture development success, this exploratory article examines the capacity endowments of nascent nonprofits. The results indicate that nascent nonprofits have rather well-developed venture ideas and also a good understanding of whom they will serve. However, few have developed programs or services ready to be implemented or established relations with real beneficiaries and/or payers. In addition, this research highlights differences in capacity between nascent nonprofit entrepreneurs with and without previous start-up experience.
In recent difficult economic times, the efficiency with which a charity spends the funds entrusted to it has become an increasingly important aspect of charitable performance. Transparency on efficiency, including the reporting of relevant measures and information to understand, contextualize, and evaluate such measures, is suggested as important to a range of stakeholders. However, using a novel framework for the analysis of efficiency reporting in the context of transparency and stakeholder theory, this research provides evidence that reporting on efficiency in U.K. charities lacks transparency, both in terms of the extent and manner of disclosure. It is argued that efficiency reporting in U.K. charities is more concerned with legitimizing these organizations rather than providing ethically driven accounts of their efficiency.
Using Internal Revenue Service Form 990 information for all filing 501(c)(3) organizations from 1998 to 2003, this article explores the organizational and environmental factors that affect nonprofit financial health in two subsectors—human services and higher education. The results yield three noteworthy findings. First, theory and empirical data converge when four commonly used financial indicators are combined to form a single financial health construct. Second, accounting measures and revenue variables are not as clearly related to financial health as the literature suggests. Third, environmental variables including macroeconomic factors (gross domestic product and state product), community factors (median household income), as well as a nonprofit’s financial prominence in their policy area (revenue share) are strong predictors of nonprofit financial health. This research contributes to the literature in several ways, most notably by incorporating a more open-systems approach to the study of nonprofit financial health with the inclusion of several environmental variables.
This study examines the relationships of volunteering behaviors with work–retirement patterns and transition among middle-aged and older Americans using the Health and Retirement Study data (1998-2008). Latent class analysis was used to identify retirement status and cluster respondents into five latent classes: the not-retired, partial retiree, full retiree, non-worker (e.g., homemakers), and the transitioned (i.e., the newly retired from paid work). Generalized linear mixed models showed those experiencing work–retirement transitions were significantly more involved in volunteering than the not-retired. Partial retirees and full retirees were more likely to start volunteering, and full retirees were also more likely to end volunteering than the not-retired over the 10-year observation period. Volunteer organizations are advised to recruit older adults who have time available and social connections with the workforce and to target the newly retired who are likely to increase their volunteer time during the transition process.
Women’s philanthropy has drawn much attention during recent years, mostly in studies from the United States or the United Kingdom. Relevant issues are to what extent gender differences in charitable giving exist in another national context and how these differences can be explained. In this study, we examine female and male giving in the Netherlands, using a representative sample of Dutch households (N = 1,692) from the 2010 wave of the Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey (GINPS). We conduct bivariate and multivariate regression analyses to test for gender differences and the extent to which they are mediated by values, costs, solicitation, and social pressure. Females turn out to be more likely to give and to give to more different sectors, which can be attributed to their higher prosocial values of empathic concern and the principle of care. Contrary to recent findings in the United States, Dutch males donate higher amounts than Dutch females.
Volunteer management (VM) has been strongly influenced by classical human resource management (HRM). There is a growing body of volunteer literature, however, that argues that volunteers differ from paid staff and that VM should therefore respond to the uniqueness of volunteers. In this study, we apply principal component analysis to reveal a few overarching principles of management responses to the uniqueness of volunteers. Furthermore, we use sequential regression analysis to examine the capacity of these principles to complement classical HRM in relation to the desired VM outcome. Our findings suggest that principles such as balance of interest, strategic commitment toward volunteers, role clarity, team spirit, and respect complement classical HRM effectively by focusing on volunteers as a unique stakeholder group. In addition, job characteristics and the resources available for VM significantly contribute to the effectiveness of VM.
How nonprofit organizations manage multiple and conflicting identities is not well understood. In a case study of a nonprofit welfare organization, we use Pratt and Foreman’s (2000) framework of identity management responses to illuminate different ways that nonprofit organizations can seek to manage and potentially resolve identity conflicts. We focus on the actual practices nonprofit organizations use to manage multiple identities and, in particular, reveal the important role of organizational routines and artifacts in facilitating or constraining particular identity management responses.
Physicians are crucial resources for medical service provision, and aggravated physician shortages enhance the need to understand employer preferences and thus perceived employer attractiveness. Our study analyzes how differences in individual motivational factors explain intentional employer choice in the hospital industry. This study focuses on medical students who are faced with their first employer selection. Using a large-scale survey of medical students (n = 563) in Germany, we analyze these choices using multinomial logit models. The analysis shows that heterogeneity exists in students’ preferences for hospital ownership type and an employer’s highlighted benefits. The likelihood of making certain choices is significantly related to both other-related motivational factors, such as altruism and commitment to public interest, and self-oriented motivational factors, such as financial security and work–life balance. The results are discussed, and management implications for nonprofit and other hospitals are derived.
Financial measures provide an empirical basis from which nonprofit researchers and practicing managers can approximate organizational capacity, financial health, and performance. These measures are used in nonprofit research to predict organizational activities and funding opportunities. Yet, little empirical evidence exists to tell us what these measures assess and whether they capture underlying concepts in the way we assume. Using Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 data, this article explores the following research question: Can accounting measures be organized into theoretically intuitive and empirically defensible constructs? To answer this question, a literature review of nonprofit financial health studies and textbooks was conducted, and dimension reduction techniques were employed. The findings suggest that the answer to the research question is not as simple as expected, and we should exercise more caution in how we use financial measures in nonprofit research.
Retraction of Garrow, E. E. (2013). Competing social service and market-driven logics in nonprofit work integration social enterprises: A comparative study. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0899764013476923
The Article has been retracted because of overlap with another work written by the same author in a previously published book chapter, "Managing Conflicting Institutional Logics: Social Service versus Market," by Eve Garrow and Yeheskel Hasenfeld, published in Social Enterprises: An Organizational Perspective, edited by Benjamin Gidron and Yeheskel Hasenfeld, Print and Online Publication Date: August
It is the editorial policy of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ) to publish only articles containing scholarship that has not been previously distributed in substantive form. NVSQ was not made aware of the publication of the earlier chapter by the author upon submission of the Article or by citation in the Article.
Can voluntary and nonprofit research be helpful for local community associations (CAs) seeking to respond to organizational challenges and problems? This article builds on a study of an organizational crisis in an English CA to explore this question. The events that precipitated and prolonged the crisis seemed inexplicable to outside observers. Yet the study found that much of what occurred could be explained in the light of earlier theories and research. The article concludes that voluntary and nonprofit scholarship, as well as generic organizational theories, has the potential to be helpful for community association members and activists in anticipating and responding to organizational problems. But scholars need to do more to disseminate existing research findings, to make them accessible and to adapt them to the distinctive needs and real-world problems of community associations.
As many of the challenges facing society are too complex to be addressed by single organizations working alone, nonprofit organizations are increasingly working in collaboration with public authorities. The governance of nonprofit–public collaborations is important for their effectiveness, yet it remains poorly understood. Drawing on case study research, this article examines and develops an extant conceptual model developed by Takahashi and Smutny that seeks to explain the formation and demise of nonprofit collaborations in terms of "collaborative windows" and the inability to adapt initial governance structures. The research finds that while initial governance structures are an important constraint on development, they can be adapted and changed. It also suggests that the development of collaborations is not only influenced by changes in the collaborative window but also by how key actors in the collaboration respond to important internal tensions.
This study examined the determinants of student contributions to their senior gift campaign while currently enrolled at a university and whether student giving predicted young alumni giving patterns after graduation. Determinants of student giving were largely consistent with those of alumni giving, although parental support was found to be an important difference. Financial aid in the form of parental support and scholarships, but not loans or grants, increased the likelihood of student giving. College experiences including group participation and positive subjective evaluation also increased the likelihood of giving. Student giving was then found to be a strong predictor of future donation patterns of young alumni. Students who did not contribute to the senior gift campaign despite repeated, in-person solicitations from peers were less likely to donate after graduation.
What explains differentiation in a nonprofit’s organizational practices around partnering with businesses? I propose that attendance at events plays a role. To explore this, I identify a network of energy and environmental nonprofit organizations and the events that brought them together to influence appliance energy efficiency from 1994 to 2006. Using network analysis to identify cohesive subgroups, I find that over time, organizations become more likely to choose one type of event over another suggesting niche development occurred in the field. I also find that, controlling for previous efforts with businesses, funding, and mission, organizations that belonged to a cohesive subgroup of organizations brought together by an annual event promoting cooperative market approaches from 2001 to 2006 were five times more likely than those nonprofits in other subgroups to partner with business. This research has implications for understanding the creation of new events and its impact on organizational practices.
The nonprofit starvation cycle is a debilitating trend of under-investment in organizational infrastructure that is fed by potentially misleading financial reporting and donor expectations of increasingly low overhead expenses. Since its original reporting in 2004, the phenomenon has been referenced several times, but seldom explored empirically. This study uses 25 years of nonprofit data to examine the existence, duration, and mechanics behind the nonprofit starvation cycle. Our results show a definite downward trend in reported overhead costs, reflecting a deep cut in administrative expenses partially offset by an increase in fundraising expenses. The organization’s size is instrumental to its behavior, with a sharp rise in reported overhead occurring when revenues equal $100,000, but diminishing at $550,000. Finally, the brunt of the cuts have fallen on nonexecutive staff wages and professional fees, which heightens the concern of potentially ill effects derived from a fixation on overhead cost reduction.
This research addressed volunteering in the context of an international sports event. The functional approach assumes that matching volunteers’ motives and environmental affordances predicts favorable outcomes. We tested this assumption with respect to event volunteering and proposed two additional motivational functions that may be served by event volunteering: good citizenship and excitement. The results show that the total match index (TMI) proposed by Stukas, Worth, Clary, and Snyder accounted for additional variance in satisfaction and the intent to volunteer again, above and beyond the variance explained by motives and affordances alone. Furthermore, beyond the TMI, matching the excitement motive accounted for additional variance in outcomes. The conceptual innovation of excitement as an intrinsic volunteer motive was supported by a theoretically consistent moderator effect: The association between autonomy and volunteer outcomes was stronger for volunteers with a high excitement motive. Theoretical and practical implications regarding the design of volunteer jobs are discussed.
How does receiving public assistance affect an individual’s charitable giving and volunteering? Using the 1994 to 2005 Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and 2005 Center on Philanthropy Panel Study (COPPS) data, we use a series of comparison group and propensity score matching approaches to overcome sticky issues of selection bias and to explore this question. We find that neither current public assistance receipt nor the amount of public assistance income has any effect on an individual’s charitable contributions of time and money. Cumulative past public assistance appears to suppress charitable giving but not volunteerism.
Private voluntary organizations (PVOs) are pivotal partners for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in implementing U.S. development projects abroad. Using PVO-level panel data from 1947 to 2005, this study shows that when government funding is up to a third of total PVO revenues (depending on the model), it attracts additional private donations; beyond that level, however, it displaces funding from private sources. The crowding-out effect occurs at lower levels of government funding for secular than for religious nonprofits. The results also demonstrate that while donors do not contribute to PVOs based on information about organizational efficiency, organizational age is positively correlated with private donations. U.S. donors are sensitive to government funding from both national and international sources, meanwhile. The results are robust to alternative specifications and a panel mortality correction.
The importance and popularity of interorganizational collaboration among nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have grown considerably in recent years. Despite these growths, however, not much is known about why NGOs network the way they do or why NGO networks are structured the way they are. Using homophily theory and exponential random graph modeling, this study examines the patterns of interorganizational collaborative ties among infectious diseases international NGOs (INGOs) in 2007 (n = 94). The results suggest that these NGOs are more likely to collaborate when they have the same status, when they have similar (closer) founding dates, when they are headquartered in the same global hemisphere (north/south), when they have common funding partners, and when they are headquartered in the same geographic regions. Overall, the findings from this study suggest that various sources of homophily inform partner selection among infectious disease INGOs.
Using the coorientation model, this study examines the views of leading U.S. corporations and charitable organizations about types of relationships between corporate donors and charities that receive corporate contributions. Results of the national expert survey show that both corporate giving officers and senior fundraisers of charitable organizations perceive the relationship as more communal than either one-way patronizing or two-way exchange. Findings from the coorientation analysis illustrate that the two groups are in a state of consensus on the patronizing and communal relationship types while a state of false consensus exists on the exchange relationship type; that is, charities wrongly assume that corporate donors desire a relationship based on the dominant characteristic of solid exchange or quid pro quo.
We examine the effects of nonprofit organizations’ resource streams and network ties on changes to the services provided and clientele served as specified in the mission statements. The organizations’ network ties are used to develop a measure of the services and beneficiaries mentioned in their inter-organizational (IO) peers’ mission statements. These measures of the content of peers’ mission statements were significant in predicting future changes in organizations’ mission statements. We argue that although mission statements are consistent with the rational systems approach by directing action toward some goal, future mission activities and clientele are greatly influenced by nonprofits’ IO ties, which is consistent with a hybrid open-natural systems approach.
Although scholars of the nonprofit sector have looked at the theoretical implications of social enterprises (SEs), more details and clarification are desirable. In particular, most previous theoretical work refers to the nonprofit sector generically and fails to account for the particularities of organizations within a more general definition of SE. This article surveys previous theories and proposes a framework based on the theory of reciprocity and the concept of unconditional reciprocity to interpret a particular kind of SE: the Italian social cooperative.
Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) play an important role in delivering social services to those in need. Capacity-building efforts for NPOs derive from funders’ desire to increase NPOs’ effectiveness and redress problems associated with limited administrative and organizational capacity. Through technical assistance, training, and grant funds, funders aim to enhance NPO functioning and ultimately improve client outcomes. Despite a general consensus about the importance of capacity building, little high-quality evidence exists on the impact of capacity-building investments. This article presents the findings from the first random assignment evaluation to be conducted in the field of nonprofit capacity building. The subject of the evaluation was one of country’s largest organizational capacity-building initiatives, the federal government’s Compassion Capital Fund (CCF) Demonstration Program. Findings from the evaluation provide clear evidence that capacity-building efforts increase capacity in each of five critical areas of capacity.
Free Clinics (FCs) in the United States contribute to the healthcare safety net by providing care to a variety of populations including the uninsured. Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) is used to evaluate FC performance by examining clinic funding sources and the number of visits and prescriptions provided on an annual basis. Cross-sectional data including 48 Virginia FCs in 2010 are analyzed to distinguish efficient and inefficient FCs. In all, 30 clinics (62.5%) were found to be top performers and defined the efficiency frontier, whereas 18 clinics (37.5%) were evaluated as inefficient. On average, to obtain efficiency, inefficient clinics would annually need to increase the number of provided general medical visits by 2,183, specialty visits by 1,969, other visits by 1,495, and dispensed prescriptions by 7,305. These findings have implications for healthcare policy and FC management.
This qualitative study explores the deinstitutionalization of peacebuilding in Ireland and how the core population of peacebuilding organizations are responding. We document organizational responses to the understudied phenomenon of deinstitutionalization—the weakening and dissipating of an institutionalized set of practices and beliefs. We rigorously map the field and population under study, illustrating the challenge and necessity of delineating a field of actors involved in a complex social process. This research contributes to understanding deinstitutionalization in two ways. First, we illustrate how organizations both adapt to and resist the challenge of deinstitutionalization. Second, organizations can act as custodians of outgoing traditions, turning to their communities and engaging in defensive institutional work, which seems to enhance their organizational survival.
Nonprofits compete in donation markets for resources and are expected to report on the financial stewardship of the organization. Without a clear comparative signal to differentiate organizations in this resource market, simple financial ratios have been used as proxy measures of relative organizational efficiency. Two conceptual models can be applied to the use of these ratios: first, as dichotomous conformance thresholds that identify poor performers who are unable to meet some minimum standard, or second, as directly comparable scales of performance where more optimized ratios can be used to distinguish the best performers. These two different conceptual models imply two different managerial approaches and potential organizational outcomes. This research assesses the extent to which nonprofits that are evaluated by an external evaluator appear to use the ratios as thresholds to pass or as scales to optimize.
The objective of this research is to determine the extent to which the effects of a business–nonprofit partnership (BNPP) go beyond those associated with their traditional roles of donor and beneficiary. Specifically, the study focuses on foundations as a distinct, fast-growing type of nonprofit, and evaluates the influence of engaging in partnerships with businesses on the not-for-profit organization’s (NPO) development of innovations, capacity building, visibility, scale of operations, funding, and mission accomplishment. We propose that stable relationships based on greater perceived value, communication, lower conflict, trust, and commitment improve innovation in nonprofits and give rise to a process of capacity building and better performance indicators. Empirical research is based on a survey of a representative sample of 325 Spanish foundations. Structural equation techniques served to analyze the data. The results confirm the positive effects of this type of BNPP.
This essay provides the very first account of the historical size and scope of German philanthropy from the mid-19th century to the 1950s. Our historical-statistical analysis of various unpublished and published sources about associations, foundations, and endowments supports an interpretation that suggest that foundations and endowments were important sources of financing for many public institutions in Germany. Our article dispels, thus, commonly held notions about the marginal position of philanthropy in German society and further suggests that philanthropy should be acknowledged as an important source for organizing and structuring modern German society.
This study offers hypotheses concerning differences in organization design among for-profit (FP), nonprofit (NP), and local government (LG) organizations. We empirically examine design in a sample of 105 Minnesota nursing homes, using data from an original survey. The findings generally support our hypotheses: (a) NP and LG nursing homes delegate more decision-making authority to their nurses than their FP counterparts, (b) NP and LG nurses enjoy greater efficiency wages than their FP counterparts, (c) NP homes rely more on the social networks of their employees to recruit new employees than FP and LG homes, (d) FP tend to use more performance-based incentives than NP and LG, and (e) there is little difference in the extent to which FP, NP, and LG homes monitor their nurses. The differences that we do detect are significant but are probably tempered by regulation, market competition, and institutional pressures for similarity.
This article aims to contribute to the long-standing discussion about nonprofit organizations’ (NPOs) dependence on public funding and its consequences on their advocacy role in modern societies. Drawing on resource dependence theory and data from a quantitative survey, the study investigates the impact of public funding and its extent on nonprofit engagement in advocacy. Traditionally, scholars have cautioned that NPOs reliant on public sources will hesitate to pursue political objectives and to engage in advocacy work. Yet, empirical findings are strikingly inconsistent. One of the reasons for these ambiguous findings may be the way advocacy is measured. To address this issue, we apply two different approaches to evaluate NPO engagement. Both sets of findings from our multivariate analyses of Austrian NPOs suggest that public funding does not have a negative impact on advocacy.
Internal branding refers to an organization’s attempts to persuade its staff to buy-in to the organization’s brand value and transform it into a reality. Drawing from self-determination theory and leadership theory, we seek to develop a deeper understanding of the process of internal branding in the nonprofit sector. More specifically, we propose and examine the mediating effects of the staff’s emotional brand attachment, staff service involvement, and the moderating effect of charismatic leadership on the brand orientation behavior–organizational performance relationship using data obtained from the representatives of 301 nonprofit organizations in the United Kingdom. On a general level, the findings suggest that staff emotional brand attachment and staff service involvement are linked to brand orientation and organizational performance. Moreover, charismatic leadership increases the strength of this linkage. All of these findings extend the literature on internal branding.
This study aims to test whether there is a difference in charitable giving between practicing converts and practicing lifelong Latter-day Saints (Mormons, LDS). A cluster sample of 2,701 anonymous questionnaires was completed during worship services in California, Utah, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey from June 2010 through November 2011. We found that practicing Mormons in our sample donated at high rates to both religious and social causes. Compared with converts, lifelong members were more likely to donate 10% or more of their income to religious causes and to donate to social causes. Also, the number of years since conversion was significantly and positively related to the likelihood of fully tithing and making donations to social causes. Implications and future research are discussed.
Recent decades have witnessed shifts in the division of labor among actors in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors, leading in part to new forms of governance. Indeed, some recent scholarship argues that nongovernmental organizations may go beyond their provisional and advocacy functions to play a much more central role in actually governing by contributing directly to public decision-making and action as part of the governing process. This article examines the governance roles of neighborhood organizations acting to shape community action in Chicago and their relationships with local government. It finds that while engaging in governance processes in both direct and indirect ways, neighborhood organizations often function at the interstices of public and private action created by absences or gaps in state policy or by local action. Developing these liminal spaces may be important to increase the influence of neighborhood organizations and their capacity to contribute directly to governing.
In the face of increased accountability pressures, nonprofits are searching for ways to demonstrate their effectiveness. Because meaningful tools to evaluate effectiveness are largely absent, financial ratios are still the main indicators used to approximate it. However, there is an extensive body of literature on determinants of nonprofit effectiveness. In this study, we test the extent to which these assertions in the literature align with practitioner views. To increase the practical value of our comparative exercise, we create a self-assessment survey on the basis of the practices that find support in both academia and practice. This provides managers with a tool to assess the extent to which the identified practices are present in their organizations and with suggestions, which might lead to improvements in their effectiveness. Intermediaries can use the tool to provide better information to donors. Funders can use it in their selection of grantees, and capacity-building efforts.
Since 1997, the U.K. Government has sought to expand the provision of public services by supporting the independent nonprofit sector. With policies to build the capacity of the sector, public spending on voluntary organizations has grown from £2 billion in 1996/1997 to £6.88 billion in 2005/2006. Theory suggests that the comparative advantage of nonprofits lies in the mission motivation of workers, and predicts that motivated workers will accept lower wages. We examine sector wage differentials in time series to show that growth in voluntary sector wages for males has outpaced the private and public sectors, while relative female wages have remained static.
In the United States, a small proportion of private donors gives to international charity. We explore the profile of these donors with a view to understanding who supports international causes relative to domestic causes only and, more generally, what shapes public concern for those in need in other countries. Using data from the 2001 survey on "Giving and Volunteering in the United States," we employ a series of probit regressions to compare the sociodemographic correlates of giving to international causes with 11 other domestic causes such as health, education, and the arts. We find that while income is not associated with the likelihood of international giving, postgraduate education, being foreign-born, and religiosity are large and significant predictors. We also explore the impact of various measures of social capital and civic engagement, and find that institutional trust and youth volunteering are strongly associated with international giving relative to the other causes.
This qualitative study examines the experiences of four nonprofit human service organizations engaging in performance measurement processes to satisfy accountability requirements and increase organizational and program effectiveness. Nonprofits are increasingly required to respond to performance measurement mandates issuing from multiple sources. However, many of the recommended strategies have been developed in the for-profit and public sectors, and are less appropriate or feasible for nonprofit organizations. Three central findings emerged from interviews, focus groups, and review of archival data. First, the complexity of human change processes and the variation among individual clients complicate efforts to define client outcomes. Second, staff skills play a critical role in effective utilization of data systems. Third, organizational strategies to support performance measurement include incorporating user perspectives into system design and providing adequate staff access to data.
Nonprofit organizations experience a tension between pursuing their social missions and meeting the demands of a market economy. This mission-market tension is an everyday, practical concern for nonprofit practitioners. Yet, scholars know very little about how nonprofit practitioners define and manage this tension. Drawing on contradiction-centered perspectives of organizing, data from an ethnographic study of a single U.S. nonprofit organization demonstrate that the mission-market tension was defined and managed by organizational members as both a contradictory and interconnected phenomenon. This framing was enabled by specific communication practices that supported a productive and generative relationship between these seemingly incompatible goals. Findings suggest that the mission-market tension is an inherent condition of nonprofit organizing and highlight the central role of communication in successfully managing mission and market concerns.
Effective training programs are critical for successful employee performance. The same can be said for volunteer programs. Volunteers need to have the knowledge and skills necessary to fulfill the mission of the organization. In this study, we examine the impact of training methods and trainees’ demographic factors on the effectiveness of a training program for a voluntary program. Survey results (N = 5,727) indicate a very low percentage of participation (16.46%) in the voluntary program after training. Responses also indicate that content knowledge recall after training is affected by training year (the year receiving training), industrial sector, calling history, and training delivery method. Participants’ desires for retraining are also impacted by the type of training received, the industry sector, as well as past participation in the program. Recommendations for voluntary training programs based on study results and future research directions are presented.
Drawing on comparative case studies, this article critiques the positioning of accountability as a benign and straightforward governance function. From a critical management studies perspective, I offer a conceptualization of the relationship between governance and accountability in which issues of power, beliefs about the nature of organizing, and social relations are integral features. The article clarifies how principal-agent governance assumptions, based on a central logic of unitarism, can drive narrow compliance-based interpretations of accountability. Such an approach appears at odds with the values embedded in the social missions of many nonprofits insofar as they prioritize small sections of powerful stakeholders over sustained periods of time. Conversely, a pluralist logic appears to create space for broad accountability to multiple stakeholders. Here, expressive, values-based accountability is seen as a source of legitimacy and can produce complex relationships, which challenge the instrumental orientation to social relations that principal-agent theories assume.
Mental budgeting (also known as mental accounting) has examined how consumers allocate and expend resources. However, the mental budgeting literature has not yet examined the availability and use of mental budgets for philanthropic, as opposed to day-to-day, consumption. Depth interviews with donors in both the United States and Canada reveal that donors do maintain mental budgets for philanthropy, that charitable gifts are expensed against the mental budget for philanthropy as well as against other budgets, and that donors’ mental budgets are malleable. Study findings extend the literature on the management and malleability of mental budgets, and provide insight to nonprofit organizations (NPO) to better position appeals to maximize donations and strengthen long-term donor relationships.
Germany is a classic example of a conservative welfare state. The production of social services is characterized by a deeply rooted tradition of corporatist governance, in which the "market" has wielded only marginal influence. Since the late 1990s, these corporatist arrangements have been challenged by the growing pressure for marketization; at the same time, a new discourse on social entrepreneurship and innovation has gained importance. This article examines the empirical impact of the social entrepreneurship movement in two domains: old-age care and youth welfare. We discuss the potential role of social entrepreneurship in these fields and argue for a realistic view of the potential for new actors in established governance arrangements. Our observations lead us to conclude that social innovation has developed not primarily as the result of challenges from new actors but rather from intrapreneurship: social innovations originating from within the established organizational field.
Women are overrepresented in the public and nonprofit sectors. This article aims to bring to light the reasons behind this phenomenon. The originality of the employer–employee matched data used allows us to consider a large scope of potential reasons. Using a nonlinear decomposition technique, we find that in addition to the well-known occupational segregation effect, the overrepresentation of women in the public and nonprofit sectors is associated with two common factors: greater offerings of family-friendly practices and higher attraction of men for certain fringe benefits that are more frequently provided by the for-profit sector. Sector-specific factors also exist. The higher wage advantage obtained by women compared with men working in the public sector rather than in the for-profit sector contributes to the feminization of the public sector. Similarly, the overrepresentation of women in the nonprofit sector is linked to greater access to part-time jobs and shorter workweeks there.
In this study, we test whether Putnam’s general claim of a negative effect of ethnic diversity holds for (active and passive) involvement in three types of voluntary organizations: leisure, interest, and activist organizations. Using data from the European Social Survey (wave 1), we applied multilevel analyses distinguishing individuals, regions, and countries. Only at the regional level, did we find that ethnic diversity reduced involvement in interest organizations. Yet, ethnic diversity induced passive involvement in activist organizations. Subsequently, we included mechanisms derived from conflict and contact theory to disentangle the indirect effects of ethnic diversity. Ethnic threat perceptions influenced participation in all voluntary associations negatively, while intergroup contact turned out to have positive influences. Our findings stress the necessity of distinguishing different types of voluntary organizations and modes of involvement and underline the importance of incorporating indirect effects of ethnic diversity.
Due to the importance of volunteers within the sport industry, there have been increased efforts to determine the motivation behind these acts of volunteerism. However, most research has focused on volunteers with professional sporting events and organizations, and very few studies have investigated volunteer motivations behind sport-for-development initiatives. The purpose of this study is to investigate the motivation of volunteers who chose to take part in the World Scholar-Athlete Games, a multinational sport-for-development event, and to identify factors related to their retention. This qualitative study was guided by the functional approach to volunteer motivation. Results revealed volunteers were motivated by values, social, understanding, career and self-enhancement factors. In addition, volunteers whose initial motivations for volunteering were satisfied continued to donate time to the event year after year. Implications for theory and practice, as well as future research directions, are discussed.
Workforce learning has become a fundamental need for organizations that face a quick-changing world growing more complicated by the day. In this study, we focused on an examination into the factors that affect the design of employee training in nonprofits, including a discussion into the training practices of nonprofits as a result of those factors. Smaller nonprofits in Taiwan were studied; larger nonprofits, such as the Red Cross and World Vision, were not included in the present study. Through interviews with and surveys of 20 participating nonprofits in Taiwan, we found that the widely used linear training design framework, including assessment, design, development, implementation, and evaluation, might not be appropriate for many nonprofits due to organizational factors such as human resources, financial environments, and managerial systems. Due to the influence of these factors, the practice of training in nonprofits has moved beyond structured design, and diverse on-the-job approaches are now being applied.
Revenue volatility hinders the planning within nonprofit organizations, and as a consequence, it can influence the organization’s contribution to public welfare. To analyze the extent of revenue volatility and its determinants, this paper uses a comprehensive, longitudinal, data set of German nonprofit sports clubs (n = 724). It distinguishes between systematic volatility and club-specific volatility, and argues that a complete understanding of the sources and impacts of volatility requires one to clearly distinguish between the two components. Empirical results indicate that revenue diversification can significantly reduce club-specific volatility, but has more minimal benefits for lowering systematic volatility. It also reveals that clubs that rely more heavily on membership fees, and less on subsidies, appear to have reduced levels of systematic and club-specific volatility, with the impact being much greater for the latter.
This article describes the scope and composition of national associational populations in four similar countries (Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and United States), by way of introducing an important new data release on national associational populations. Special attention is devoted to the subset of associations attending to social inequality issues of gender, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and which are of particular interest to social movement and interest group scholars. No evidence is found for the Tocquevillian notion of heightened national-level associational activity in the United States. The nonmembership associational form is, however, particularly prominent in the United States. Associations attending to social inequality issues in the United Kingdom are structured very differently from these other nations, likely as a result of the unitary nature of government in that country rather than a strong federal system.
Which characteristics of NGOs are associated with the adoption of modern management practices and to what extent have those practices become standardized? Based on a national sample of 135 international and local NGOs operating in Cambodia, we address these questions by analyzing the dynamics of "monitoring and evaluation" (M&E), a term used to describe a broad range of activities that NGOs undertake to track, understand, and assess their work. We provide an overview of monitoring and evaluation in a developing country setting, investigate the factors associated with more extensive (or sophisticated) M&E using multivariate analysis, and look at how M&E practices vary between local and international NGOs. Findings demonstrate that professionalization, resource dependence, and social embeddedness all play important roles in explaining the activities of NGOs operating in Cambodia. The analysis also suggests that the flow of management practices in the NGO sector differs for local and international actors.
Studies examining the role of philanthropic foundations in advancing social change have primarily focused on the impact of foundations’ financial resources. Few scholars have analyzed how foundations also leverage social mechanisms to advance and legitimate desired change. We conceptualize philanthropic foundations as agents of change known as institutional entrepreneurs to illuminate the social mechanisms they employ in pursuit of institutional change. We study the case of charter schools within the field of U.S. public education, where foundations elevated a new organizational form—the charter management organization—by engaging in three social mechanisms: recombining cultural elements to establish the form, enforcing evaluative frameworks to assess the form, and sponsoring new professionals to populate the form with preferred expertise. We argue that foundations are distinctive due to their ability to simultaneously pursue social mechanisms that are often considered to be the realms of different types of institutional entrepreneurs.
Does communication through the Internet strengthen local voluntary organizations? This question is investigated by analyzing sustainability, vitality, and the use of the Internet by Norwegian local voluntary organizations. Using quantitative data, analyses show that the use of the Internet by Norwegian voluntary organizations is widespread. Primarily, organizations appreciate the technology for its one-way aspect of communication and information distribution, rather than for aspects of many-to-many communication between organizations, members, and volunteers. Using data from two points in time, analyses show that organizations using the Internet have had a higher probability of achieving organizational growth than those who do not. Furthermore, these organizations are also more likely to hold internal meetings and to arrange other face-to-face activities. This article therefore concludes that rather than replacing traditional organizations and face-to-face activities, the Internet may strengthen their sustainability and vitality.
Many nonprofits rely on private donations and government grants, but it is still unclear how these sources of funding may interact or even influence each other. To examine the behavioral aspect of the crowding-out hypothesis, we conducted an online survey experiment (n = 562) to test if government funding of a hypothetical nonprofit would influence donations. Our results show that a nonprofit with government funding, compared to an identical hypothetical organization without government funding, received 25% less in average donations (US$35 vs. US$47) and was about half as likely (21% vs. 38%) to receive all the money in a forced-choice scenario. However, the crowding-out effect of government funding appears much weaker for those who are arts patrons or who have previously contributed to the arts. Interestingly, this crowding-out effect seems insensitive to the amount of government funding and to labeling the government funding as coming from a prestigious source (e.g., National Endowment for the Arts [NEA]).
Research on diaspora philanthropy is in its infancy, primarily focused on individual country case studies, and often prone to over-generalization. Based on an extensive survey of the Coptic diaspora in three countries of residence (CORs), this article analyzes the experience and potential of a minority and faith-based diaspora. The survey findings inform a nuanced reading of diaspora philanthropy as practiced and understood. Placing this experience in the context of knowledge to date suggests several findings about diaspora philanthropy. Diasporas are extremely heterogeneous. Members of minority diasporas do not necessarily target their giving only to their fellow minorities in the country of origin (COO). COR giving norms may be integrated alongside faith-based and heritage culture giving norms, possibly displacing the latter at least at the margins. Despite integration in the COR, even over long periods of time and across generations, diasporans may retain a strong interest in philanthropy targeted to the COO.
This research provides detailed descriptive information about decision-making behaviors and processes of community foundation boards. Our study responds to Graddy and Morgan’s (2006) call for research that examines how community foundation leadership (board and staff) affects strategic direction. We provide an understanding of how community foundation boards interpret organizational and environmental realities while balancing what has been described in the literature as "competing" mission-related objectives among donors, recipients, and the community. We find decision making to be influenced by three powerful forces; fear, tradition, and serendipity.
The aim of the present study is to provide a deeper understanding of how autonomy-supportive leadership affects volunteer motivation by taking volunteers’ individual differences into account. For this purpose, self-determination theory (SDT) was utilized because this conceptual framework considers both the social context (i.e., autonomy-supportive leadership) and individual differences (i.e., causality orientations) as antecedents of motivation. Causality orientations alter the way individuals perceive their social context as either autonomy-supportive or controlling (i.e., autonomy orientation or control orientation, respectively). Therefore, it is hypothesized that both types of causality orientations serve as moderators of the relationship between autonomy-supportive leadership and volunteer motivation. The hypotheses were tested on N = 1,979 volunteers. The results revealed that the relationship between autonomy-supportive leadership and volunteer motivation varied as a function of the strength of autonomy and control orientation. The importance of the moderating role of individual differences on volunteer motivation is discussed.
Social networking applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Crowdrise offer new ways for nonprofits to engage the community in fundraising efforts. This study employs data from Facebook Causes to examine the nature and determinants of charitable giving in social networking environments. Our findings suggest donations on these sites are not driven by the same factors as in "off-line" settings. Instead, a social network effect takes precedence over traditional economic explanations. Facebook donors do not seem to care about efficiency ratios, their donations are typically small, and fundraising success is related not to the organization’s financial capacity but to its "Web capacity." Moreover, online donors are prone to contribute to certain categories of causes more than others, especially those related to health. Given the growth in social media-driven fundraising—and the increase in crowdfunding, slacktivism, impulse donating, and other new practices this entails—these findings carry notable theoretical and practical implications.
Policy advocacy is widely regarded as an eminent feature of nonprofit organizations’ activities, allowing them to represent their constituencies. The article presents a literature review of research on nonprofit policy advocacy that has been published over the last decade, focusing on advocacy by nonprofit human service organizations (NPHSOs) and its unique characteristics and contributions. The review focuses on several key topics, including: the definitions and origins of the term advocacy and its current uses in studies related to NPHSOs; the current situation and prevalence of NPHSO advocacy activities; organizational and structural variables as they relate to policy advocacy; dependence on external funding sources and policy advocacy; strategies, tactics, modes of operation, and the effectiveness of NPHSO policy advocacy. The article presents and discusses the implications of this research and suggests directions for future research.
In 2006, the Russian state sought to rein in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) by passing a law restricting their activities. This legislation drew considerable criticism at home and within the international community with regard to the development of civil society in Russia. In this article, we assess the impact of the NGO law on organizations that have received relatively little attention in the literature: Russian health and educational NGOs. The data suggest that these NGOs have acquiesced to the demands of this legislation, which undermines their independence and is currently stalling the further development of Russia’s civil society. Our findings also illustrate that these legislative changes have not resulted in the predicted effects.
Why do Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries vary in their regulatory approach toward nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)? This article introduces an index to assess NGO regulation regarding barriers to entry, NGOs’ political capacity, and economic activity. Our cross-section analysis of 28 OECD countries offers preliminary evidence of systematic differences in NGO regulation between corporatist and pluralist systems. We suggest corporatist systems have more restrictive regulations because NGOs risk upsetting the political order and managed social consensus. In pluralist countries, NGOs face fewer restrictions because governments view them as substitutes for formal communication channels. We present two cases, Japan (corporatist) and the United States (pluralist), to illustrate this argument. In sum, macroinstitutional arrangements of political representation have a crucial bearing on national styles of NGO regulation. Future uses of this index include examining the effects of national context on international NGOs (INGOs), explaining variations in organizational structures and strategies among NGOs, and tracking variations in NGO–state relations over time.
This article introduces the Nonprofit Virtual Accountability Index (NPVAI) as a tool for nonprofits to strategically plan their online accountability, as well as for researchers to empirically analyze nonprofit Web sites. The index is developed first from the theoretical literature on nonprofit accountability, on government virtual accountability, and on best practice in website design. An exploratory factor analysis is then carried out on the index adapted from these sources. The nonprofit virtual accountability components identified were accessibility, engagement, performance, governance, and mission. The index is applied to nonprofits in Illinois to test its validity. The findings confirm the validity of the index as a tool to measure nonprofit virtual accountability.
It is often suggested that nonprofit organizations positively impact our local communities. Studies, however, have consistently shown that the distribution of these organizations varies considerably from one community to the next. These differences have led some scholars to begin raising serious concern about the degree of "charitable equity" across communities. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore how the makeup of a community’s nonprofit sector affects the views of those who potentially depend on nonprofit services. Specifically, using data from a countywide survey of public attitudes toward nonprofits in southern California (N = 1,002), we examined whether differences in the distribution of nonprofits affected individuals’ confidence in nonprofit performance as well as their awareness of what nonprofit organizations even are. Findings indicated that nonprofit density was strongly related to awareness of the sector, while awareness was, in turn, strongly related to confidence in nonprofit performance.
To advance understanding of the relationship between values and organizations, this review synthesizes classic and recent organizational and sociological research, including this symposium’s articles on voluntary associations. We argue that all organizations reflect, enact, and propagate values. Organizations draw on culture, which offers a tool kit of possible actions supported by institutional logics that delineate appropriate activities and goals. Through institutional work, organizations can secure acceptance for unfamiliar practices and their associated values, often under the logic of democracy. Values may be discerned in any organization’s goals, practices, and forms, including "value-free" bureaucracies and collectivist organizations with participatory practices. We offer suggestions for enhancing understanding of how collectivities advance particular values within their groups or society.
Contemporary nonprofit management research generally assumes that nonprofit managers are intrinsically motivated and has disproportionally emphasized the importance of intrinsic motivation. This is misleading as individuals can be simultaneously propelled by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. By testing variables from the NASP-III data set and employing self-determination theory (SDT), the author obtained the following findings. First, nonprofit managers’ motivational styles fall into five different categories as suggested in SDT. Second, their external motivation (e.g., a desire for pay and security), a type of extrinsic motivation, is not necessarily weaker than their intrinsic motivation. Finally, the five categories vary in their relationships with their job satisfaction, job involvement, and pride working for the current organization. The author urges scholars to pay more attention to nonprofit managers’ multidimensional motivational styles.
This study uses data from the microfinance industry to analyze differences in earnings quality between for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The two sets of organizations differ with respect to both governance mechanisms and managerial incentives, and little research has been conducted to investigate how such differences affect the quality of financial reporting. Overall, we find little evidence of differences in earnings quality between our two samples in the aggregate. We do, however, observe significant differences among the types of nonprofit organizations; this finding suggests that the concept of a "nonprofit level of earnings quality" is ill defined.
In the highly competitive college sport environment, many varsity sport programs have financial systems independent from the academic side of the university. These programs function on multimillion dollar budgets partially funded through ticket sales, licensed merchandise, and television rights. However, donations from alumni and boosters account for the most substantial portion of many athletic budgets. Fund-raising efforts in this environment have not had available models of donor behavior from which to streamline solicitation efforts. Using the Existence Relatedness Growth (ERG) Theory as a guide, this article fills this gap by reporting on the development and testing of an integrated model of college donor motives: A Model of Athletic Donor Motivation (MADOM). Using a sample of college sport donors (N = 532), the results yield a psychometrically sound eight-factor measurement scale: A Scale of Athletic Donor Motivation (SADOM). Study implications and practical applications of the scale are discussed.
Building on the impressive body of research on issues of nonprofit revenue choice and mix, this research empirically tests Foster and Fine’s claim that revenue concentration contributes to the growth of nonprofit organizations. Using National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) digitized data (1998-2003), the authors test whether revenue concentration is a viable revenue-generating strategy that can help bolster a nonprofit’s financial capacity. Overall, study findings refute the mythology of revenue diversification; the authors find that implementing a revenue concentration strategy generates a positive growth in one’s financial capacity—in particular, a growth in one’s total revenue, over time. Contrary to the prevalent charges laid at the door of high administrative and fundraising efforts by some, the authors find that in order to support financial capacity growth, nonprofits must make positive investments in favor of administrative and fundraising support but not in the form of high executive salaries.
What has come to be called ‘whistleblowing’ has grown enormously in the US over recent decades and it is spreading rapidly around the world. The research on which this paper is based develops a sample of whistleblowers from all walks of life and all regions of the US. This article focuses specifically on the treatment of whistleblowers in the non-profit sector.
In examining the political meaning of the act of whistleblowing, the author describes whistleblowing as an act of parrhesia. In ancient Greece this was a citizen request to speak freely and frankly. In the case of the whistleblowers, they are moved to speak publicly and candidly, even without permission to do so, in defense of the substantive purposes of the organization that employs them.
This study finds that there is little difference in how whistleblowers are treated in the three sectors of our economy. In the majority of cases in this sample, the organizational managers against whom the whistleblowers level claims of wrongdoing, seek quickly to discredit, defame and terminate them.
The author’s research does find that most employees in non-profit organizations view their employer as reasonably open to their inputs. Nevertheless, these positive perceptions of the employer are destroyed among those employees who witness what they define as wrongful or illegal conduct on the part of their employer, and particularly where the employee brings their observations of corruption to "higher-ups" in the organization and sees no corrective action take place. The retaliation that too often follows their disclosures of corrupt practices leaves them with a magnified sense of their own integrity, a new political identity, and an indelible sense of distrust toward senior managers and hierarchal organizations in general. The paper concludes with some suggestions as to how non-profit organizations could respond in a more constructive way to dissenting viewpoints.
This article presents and explains differences in governmental implementation strategies of volunteer centers in Norway and Denmark. In the first part, we describe the emergence of centers, focusing on shifting policies and governmental initiatives. The second part aims at explaining the observed variations. First, we found that the functions of the centers were strongly affected by centralistic trends in Danish social policy in contrast to a broader acceptance of local welfare variations in Norway. Second, we found that Danish centers managed to establish a national umbrella organization, while the Norwegian centers lacked a national coordinating unit. Third, an independent legal form in which local associations are members may have helped Danish centers bring about a sense of local ownership. In Norway, volunteer centers had weak ties to other local voluntary associations and were at times perceived as a threat to them.
High annual turnover among volunteers heightens policy and practitioner concern about effective retention strategies. Volunteer commitment is a complex interaction between the antecedents to volunteering, including a volunteer’s personal characteristics and motivations, and situational factors of the volunteer experience such as organizational practices that encourage sustained volunteerism. Using the Penner (2002) volunteer process model to illustrate this interactive approach, I estimate future volunteering intentions among a distinct group: Members of occupational associations. Data come from a large international pool of professional and occupational society members, and analyzed using GZLM and multinomial logistic regression. The findings suggest that the strongest influences on sustained commitment come from situational factors related to the volunteer experience rather than prior social conditioning. The findings support theory building on volunteer motivations generally and are also useful in building an understanding of voluntary membership behavior in professional associations, where research is still in the early stages.
Nonprofit organizations operate charity retail shops to raise the necessary funds to enable them to carry out their primary charitable purpose. This research conducts six case studies in the charity retail sector to develop the charity retail branding strategy decision pathway to link (a) "why" nonprofit senior managers choose different types of charity retail branding strategy and (b) "how" they conduct legitimation strategies accordingly to attain brand legitimacy. In the course of developing our argument, this research extends the theory of brand architecture and brand legitimacy by articulating their application in third sector retailing practice. These findings will also be useful for senior managers when making branding decisions and designing legitimation strategies to attain brand legitimacy.
Collaborations between nonprofits and businesses (CBNB) are a developing field of action. Much of the research deals with the business’s perspective. Usage of third sector and nonprofit management methods is a relatively new field of research. This article presents a qualitative case study of a three year collaboration between a nonprofit organization (NPO) and a pharmaceutical company that focuses on the NPO’s unique perceptions and points of view about the partnership. The findings reveal that the most crucial element affecting the success or failure of a collaboration is the added value that the business partner brings to the relationship. Furthermore, power relations suggest that weak positioning might benefit the NPO. We introduce the Fields of Action Typology of collaborations between nonprofits and businesses that adds a content layer to current classifications of CBNB and is helpful for defining and examining the benefits NPOs can derive from CBNB.
This article examines the role of the Corston Independent Funders’ Coalition (CIFC), a group of grant-making trusts and foundations that came together in 2008 to take a direct and active advocacy role. Using an existing policy reform blueprint, CIFC aimed to influence government policy on the treatment of women in the United Kingdom’s criminal justice system. Conceptualizing the CIFC as an ad hoc advocacy network, the authors use a retrospective mixed-methods approach to explore the context that gave rise to the CIFC, examine the setting-up and operation of the network, and reflect on its achievements. The case highlights some of the tensions associated with advocacy networks and points toward the challenges of defining and building identity in a preoccupied policy space. It raises questions about whether and how established foundations might be able to take on a more direct policy advocacy role.
The concept of values "fit" has been a significant theme in the management literature for many years. It is argued that where there is alignment of staff and organizational values a range of positive outcomes are encountered. What is unclear is how this translates into the charity sector. This study explores the phenomenon of values alignment in two U.K. charities. Questionnaires were used to measure staff values, perceptions of organization values, and staff commitment. Drawing on the work of Finegan, an interaction term is used as a proxy for fit. Analyses of data from 286 participants indicated that it was the perceptions of organization values that had the greatest impact on staff commitment. The alignment of staff values and perceptions of organization values only had a degree of effect within one of the charities. This challenges the dominant view on such alignment and the implications of this are discussed.
Affordable access to postsecondary education is of growing concern for both families and policy makers. More students have chosen to continue their education after high school over the last several decades, though decisions whether and where to attend are often based on limited knowledge and financial resources. Increasing costs of attendance have sustained inequalities in access for students from varying economic, social, and racial groups—a problem that captures the attention of the government and voluntary sectors alike. The purpose of this article is to examine the effect of Oregon’s government–voluntary sector partnership for improving access to postsecondary education: a private scholarship program and a volunteer mentoring program. In so doing, authors introduce cultural capital theory as a framework for studying nonprofit and voluntary sector activities. Authors suggest a need for further research on the utility of cultural capital in other policy areas that cut across sectors.
This article develops a Hayekian perspective on social franchising that distinguishes between the end-connected logic of the small group and the rule-connected logic of the big group. Our key claim is that mission-driven social entrepreneurs often draw on the small-group logic when starting their social ventures and then face difficulties when the process of scaling shifts their operations toward a big-group logic. In this situation, social franchising offers a strategy to replicate the small group despite systemwide scaling, to mobilize decentrally accessible social capital, and to reduce agency costs through mechanisms of self-selection and self-monitoring. By employing a Hayekian perspective, we are thus able to offer an explanation as to why social franchising is a suitable scaling strategy for some social entrepreneurship organizations and not for others. We illustrate our work using the Ashoka Fellow Wellcome.
How are nonprofit organizations utilizing social media to engage in advocacy work? We address this question by investigating the social media use of 188 501(c)(3) advocacy organizations. After briefly examining the types of social media technologies employed, we turn to an in-depth examination of the organizations’ use of Twitter. This in-depth message-level analysis is twofold: A content analysis that examines the prevalence of previously identified communicative and advocacy constructs in nonprofits’ social media messages; and an inductive analysis that explores the unique features and dynamics of social media-based advocacy and identifies new organizational practices and forms of communication heretofore unseen in the literature.
Even though previous research indicates that an organization’s pursuit of strategic orientation (SO) has positive effects on its performance, we have deepened and expanded our understanding of how this concept can also be applied to social enterprises (SEs). Using data collected from British and Japanese social enterprises, we examined the mediating roles of market effectiveness and consumer satisfaction in both the social and commercial domains with regard to SO effects on performance, as well as how performance in one aspect of practice positively moderates the impact of SO behavior in another. The results contribute to the development of a theory for understanding the concept of SO associated with social enterprise performance. More generally, this article contributes to the ongoing efforts to understand the strategic management aspect of social enterprises.
Studies of advocacy by nonprofit human-service organizations generally fail to distinguish between two major types of advocacy—advocacy for social benefits versus organizational benefits. We show that different organizational factors explain the emphasis on each type of advocacy. We use an institutional logics perspective, with its emphasis on the moral frames organizations adopt, as our theoretical framework. We propose that two organizational mechanisms express these moral frames—selection of a practice frame and location decision—and shape the substance of advocacy. Analyzing a probability sample of these organizations, we find that a practice frame that places the clients’ problems on the environment rather than the individual is positively associated with advocacy for social benefits. Similarly, organizations that express their moral commitment to locate in high-poverty areas are more likely to advocate for social benefits. We conclude with some implications on the role of advocacy in a neoliberal regime.
This article maintains that local government and nonprofit organizations are key collaborative agents in the delivery of language access services in the City of Philadelphia. Based on 18 months of qualitative research (March 2009-September 2010), this article utilizes personal interviews, document analyses, and other data to situate the shared responsibility forged between the public and nonprofit sectors in the realm of language access. Local government relies on a range of nonprofit networks for both public support and community outreach in immigrant neighborhoods. Nonprofits, on the other hand, rely on the welcoming political climate that protocols and municipal directives provide for immigrants at the local level. As Philadelphia touts itself as a reemerging destination for immigrants, this article highlights the prominent role that nonprofit organizations play in the work of immigrant accompaniment by ensuring equal access to city services, regardless of linguistic ability.
The purpose of the study is to review the adoptability of learning orientation (LO), market orientation (MO), and innovation to human service nonprofits by investigating the relationships among these. The study hypothesizes and analyzes the mediating effect of MO in the movement from learning orientation to innovation. The findings based on nonprofit community centers in South Korea partially support the positive influence of LO and MO on innovation, proposing the importance of establishing both LO and MO to facilitate innovations in human service nonprofits. The study suggests implications for practice and future research.
We investigate the relationship between revenue diversification and volatility for nonprofits. Modern portfolio theory suggests that more diversification reduces volatility at the expense of reduced expected revenue. We find that this relationship should not be taken for granted. We use a new empirical measure of volatility that addresses estimation issues of expected revenue, including heteroskedasticity and the omission of the effect of diversification on expected revenue. We also examine the impact on nonprofits of different types of diversification. We find that the effects of diversification on volatility and expected revenue depend on the compositional change in the portfolio. For example, a more diversified portfolio achieved by replacing earned income with donations reduces both volatility and expected revenue, while replacing investment income with donations to achieve an increase in diversification of the same magnitude reduces volatility and increases expected revenue. This suggests other motives for nonprofit organizations to hold investments.
The current two studies, one testing college students and the other testing adults, showed nearly identical comparative effects of news features about either a nonprofit organization alone or about that same nonprofit but sponsored by a commercial company. There were two exemplars of nonprofit and commercial company pairings, and each was presented as "localized." That is, the nonprofit and commercial company were located in the same city as the respondents or nonlocalized. Surprisingly, there was almost no indication that the commercial sponsor damaged positive responses, but there was some indication that under the localized condition, there was more negativity toward the commercial sponsorship. The elaboration likelihood model and attribution theory provide theoretical space for understanding these effects.
This ethnographic study illustrates how staff and management’s sensemaking in conflict in a clerical unit in a Scandinavian nonprofit organization is shaped by institutionalized meanings. Staff and management draw on three institutionalized frameworks when making sense of conflict: The defective personality framework, the diversity framework, and the status inequality framework. Similarly to the organization’s practice of framing "conflicts" as "frictions," the diversity framework is guided by organizational ideology of egalitarianism and similar to the defective personality framework it emphasises nonconfrontation as a main strategy in processes of conflict management. Despite the organization’s strong commitment to egalitarianism, the clerical workers view status inequality as the origin of many conflicts and they thereby draw from the same institutionalized meanings of political economy of distributional conflicts that the organization was founded to change. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Some local governments solicit voluntary Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) from nonprofit organizations. PILOTs are intended to substitute for property and other taxes nonprofit entities do not pay even though they consume local government services. The diffusion of PILOTs to other jurisdictions depends in part on local government financial managers’ knowledge and perceptions. Using a mail survey of local government financial managers, this study explores factors that explain the use and solicitation of PILOTs. Jurisdictions where local government financial managers do not view administrative and political costs as greater than benefits of revenue are more likely to have and solicit PILOTs. Proximity to other jurisdictions that have a PILOT make it more likely a jurisdiction will consider soliciting a PILOT. However, perceived stakeholder support for the tax exempt status of the nonprofit sector makes a jurisdiction less likely to consider soliciting PILOTs.
This first ever functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of charitable bequest decision making found increased activation in the precuneus and lingual gyrus of the brain compared to charitable giving and volunteering decisions. Greater lingual gyrus activation was also associated with increased propensity to make a charitable bequest. Previous studies have shown that activation of these brain regions is related to taking an outside perspective of one’s self, recalling the recent death of a loved one, and recalling vivid autobiographical memories across one’s life. We propose that bequest decision making is analogous to visualizing the final chapter in one’s autobiography and that fund-raisers may do well to emphasize donors’ autobiographical connections with the charity. Due to inherent mortality salience, people may resist creating this final chapter but, once engaged, may seek to leave an enduring legacy.
Private nonprofit organizations (NPO) involved in publically funded welfare programs face the challenge of maintaining autonomy in their strategic decision-making processes. In this article we study the extent to which NPO managers perceive this autonomy vis-à-vis government in defining the NPO’s mission, their working procedures, the target groups to be served and the results to be achieved. Empirical evidence is taken from a large-N sample of 255 NPOs engaged in social welfare provision in Belgium. Our findings suggest that public resource dependence does have a negative impact on the perception of NPOs about the level of organizational autonomy. Still, we will argue that, when looking at the relative share of public income in the NPO’s total budget, the nature and intensity of the consultation process between government and NPO and some measures of organizational capacity, this picture is less black and white than presumed.
Recent research indicates that consumers associate nonprofit organizations mainly with the trait "warmth," whereas for-profit organizations are perceived as being "competent." Trustworthiness is another dimension of consumer perceptions of nonprofit organizations. This article attempts to combine two strands of research: Aaker, Vohs, and Mogilner’s research on perceptions of warmth and competence and Handy et al.’s and Schlesinger, Mitchell, and Gray’s research on individuals’ perceptions of trustworthiness in nonprofits. Our study indicates that "warmth," "trustworthiness," and "competence" are distinct dimensions of patient perceptions of hospitals. Perceptions of these traits vary across different manifestations of ownership status. Nonprofit hospitals are perceived as more trustworthy and warm but less competent than their for-profit competitors. With nonurgent care, analysis shows that only trustworthiness and competence influence patients’ hospital evaluations. Nonprofit hospitals should try to make their ownership status public as well as to alleviate detrimental deviations of perceived competence from actual competence.
This article studies the influence of the procedural justice resulting from participation in decision-making on employees’ affective commitment in social enterprises. It also examines whether any potential link between participation and commitment is due to social exchange, as is the case with for-profit companies. The study is based on data from employees of French work integration social enterprises. The results confirm the positive relationship between procedural justice and affective commitment and the mediating role of perceived organizational support and leader–member exchanges. Managerial recommendations are then given to best maintain or increase employees’ involvement in the decision-making processes of social enterprises.
The more nonprofits become challenged by resource shortages, the higher the demand for highly skilled executive directors. Nevertheless, we do not yet fully understand what motivates executive directors to work in nonprofits challenged by market forces. This article explores the career context and individual biographies of executive directors. Introducing a career field and career capital approach to the study of careers in nonprofits, we analyze what influences the career of executive directors of German faith-based social service organizations. The results of 23 interviews and four focus groups with 60 participants are twofold. First, four types of career capital influenced the executive directors’ career: Experience of solidarity, orientation to social service, skills for executive function, and leadership by appointment. Second, all careers were highly influenced by the experience of solidarity. The article ends by explaining why experience of solidarity is important for training and selecting nonprofit executive directors.
This article uses data from the 2006 Social Capital Community Survey to examine the impact of social capital, religious capital, human capital, and attitudes on volunteerism. Five alternative structural models are estimated. Tests reveal unambiguously the inferiority of the Tobit model and point to a double-hurdle model with independent errors as the best alternative. Major findings are that more diversity in friendships and more education increase the likelihood of volunteering, greater intensity of religious belief increases the level of volunteerism, and more informal social networking and formal group involvement along with greater religious participation increase both the likelihood and level of volunteering. Study results suggest strongly that the nonprofit voluntary sector has a vested interest in promoting policies that expand educational opportunities and foster civil engagement, social interaction, and religious participation.
Research has shown that individuals with greater public service motivation (PSM) values are more likely to work for government, because government jobs offer more public service opportunities; the question then arises of whether they are also drawn into other activities that offer service opportunities, such as participation in voluntary organizations. This study examined the volunteering behavior of government employees in different domains. Using the Americans’ Changing Lives survey, logistic regression models were estimated to examine the relationship between employment in the government sector and self-reported volunteering in five different types of organization. The results indicated that government employees engage in significantly more volunteering than their private-sector counterparts. When separate models were run for volunteering in each organization type, controlling for several other factors, the results showed that these initial big differences were driven primarily by their volunteering in two specific types of organization: Educational institutions and political groups.
Through their nonpartisan voter registration and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) activities, nonprofit human service organizations play a critical role in promoting a more inclusive democracy by engaging low-income citizens and marginalized populations in the voting process. Previous studies of nonpartisan voter mobilization have focused on the effectiveness of door-knocking and phone calls by large community organizing groups as a strategy for increasing voter turnout. However there have been no studies to date examining the effectiveness of offering voter registration and other forms of voting support at the service delivery site, a strategy described as "agency-based" voter engagement. Using a quasi-experimental design, this study addresses this gap in the literature by examining the effects of nonprofit voter mobilization efforts on increasing voter turnout. We use voter turnout data from 505 clients of seven nonprofit human service organizations in the city of Detroit collected after the 2010 elections. The findings yield strong evidence that nonprofits’ agency-based voter mobilization efforts are effective. We find that for each voting-related contact a client receives from his or her service agency, the likelihood of turnout increases by 11.1 percentage points, even after controlling for other factors known to influence voting behavior. Moreover, we find that the most effective forms of voting-related contacts are voter registration assistance and personal voting reminders. We conclude by examining the implications of these findings for nonprofits’ voter engagement efforts.
Social, economic, and political transformations have traditionally complicated the balance between individual liberties and common good (or national needs). In times of war this balance appears more fragile and—given the role of philanthropy in the formation of identities—philanthropic studies as a field should pay more attention to these dynamics. Accordingly, in this article, the author investigates the impact of World War 1 on the German-American community. Through the historical case study of one German-American voluntary association based in Indianapolis, the author dismisses both ethnic disappearance and ethnic survival theories. In contrast, the author proposes a more nuanced approach to the processes of assimilation of minority groups. The author contends that German-Americans did not lose the battle for survival but for pluralism and suggests that in times of economic as well as social transformations homogenizing forces tend to silence alternative voices in American society.
This article considers one mechanism that could create a clearer accountability path between nonprofits and their beneficiaries: Outcome measurement. Outcome measurement focuses attention on a nonprofit’s beneficiaries and whether they are better off as a result of the nonprofit’s work. The article analyzed 10 outcome measurement guides targeted to nonprofits, totaling more than 1,000 pages of text. The analysis shows that the guides were neither uniform in the conceptualization of nonprofit beneficiaries nor in how they directed nonprofits to use outcome measurement with their beneficiaries. Despite scholars’ suggestion that a nonprofit’s relationship to their beneficiaries is a key accountability relationship, the guides suggest that beneficiaries have an ambiguous standing, relative to other stakeholders, in the nonprofit accountability environment.
Although pay differences between men and women with comparable characteristics are generally smaller in the nonprofit than in the for-profit sector, gender pay gaps in the nonprofit sector vary widely across industries. In some industries, gender pay gaps are as large as in the for-profit sector, but in others, women make more than comparably qualified men. Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling on the combined 2001-2006 American Community Surveys, we test nonprofit labor motivation theories against a gendered-job hypothesis to explain this variation. We find that gender pay gaps in the nonprofit sector are smaller in industries where nonprofits outnumber for-profits and where higher proportions of female-dominated occupations exist.
Studies into the factors influencing first-time monetary donation intention abound. However, the determinants of repeat donation intention have not yet received significant attention within the academic community. For this study, a survey was implemented with residents of two cities in the eastern part of the Netherlands to determine the factors influencing their repeat donation intention. The study shows that respondents’ intention to continue donating to a charitable organization is predicated on their positive experience with that organization. Furthermore, this repeat donation is also influenced by respondents’ affinity with the cause of the charitable organization, their trust in the organization, and the organization’s positive reputation. The perceived risk of donating negatively influences repeat donation intention. It is surprising, however, that a sense of moral obligation to help others does not impact respondents’ intention to continue donating.
Intensive interviews were conducted with CEOs and board chairs (n = 18) to explore the criteria they use to compare and contrast funding sources common to nonprofit organizations. The interview protocol used in the study is distinctive for: (1) the amount of data it generates from relatively few interviews, and (2) its power in eliciting the underlying values and assumptions of interviewees rather than imposing the researcher’s frame of reference as is the case with traditional forced-choice questionnaires and interview protocols. The nonprofit leaders who were interviewed in this exploratory study seem to employ a strategic perspective in their evaluation of funding sources, asserting to the researchers that they use evaluative criteria such as the extent to which the funding source can catalyze other resources, the alignment of the funding source with the mission of the organization, and the sustainability of the funding source over time.
Using observations, interviews, and archival research of an organization that coordinates the annual Burning Man event, I argue that storytelling is a mechanism by which stakeholders can demand accountability to their needs for recognition and voice. I identify particular frames, or perspectives and guides to action, articulated in members’ stories. Deploying a personalistic frame, storytellers recounted individuals’ contributions toward a collective endeavor. Such storytelling commemorated efforts overlooked by official accounts and fostered bonds among members. Other storytellers identified problems and organizing possibilities for consideration under the civic society or anarchist frames. By familiarizing organizations with members’ perspectives and interests, stories facilitate organizational learning that can better serve stakeholders’ interests. Additional research could explore whether (1) consistent face-to-face relations (2) within a bounded setting, such as an organization, and (3) practices that encourage participation in organizing decisions and activities are necessary conditions under which storytelling can enable accountability to members’ interests.
Empirical observations increasingly evidence that nonprofit organizations are becoming a less distinctive form of organization due to commercialization and the adoption of government practices. This fact challenges nonprofit theory development, which lags behind the development of practices in the field. This study examines one representative service nonprofit and asks how and why it is similar to and, simultaneously, different from private and public organizations. The purpose is to contribute to the debate on the assumption of nonprofit theory—should we study nonprofits as a distinct form of organization or perhaps as hybrids? The case study reveals that the case organization’s self-sustaining mechanism is based on value that generates many kinds of assistance at no cost. This mechanism, paired with a community base and a not-for-profit identity, formulates a distinct nonprofit model. However, due to the inadequacy of the value-based self-sustaining mechanism, the organization has to adopt business and government practices.
In the current debate on social capital, a key issue relates to the growing popularity of more passive forms of involvement at the expense of active participation in voluntary associations. While some authors claim that this trend leads to a decline in social capital, others call for a reevaluation of the role of passive involvement. This article aims to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between passive involvement and social capital. Using data from a representative survey of the Dutch-speaking population in Belgium, we assess the relationship between passive membership, financial support, and social capital. We find that financial support is a distinct form of participation that generates the strongest link with social capital. This indicates that voluntary associations, in addition to their socialization function, also perform an important representation function. This conclusion supports the institutional approach to social capital.
Using data from a survey of large nonprofits across Canada, this study focuses on the determinants of the range of diversity (defined as the number of different ethnocultural and visible minority groups represented) on boards across the country. The determinants of diversity that the article examines include community, organizational, and general board characteristics as well as board diversity practices. We examine the extent to which these factors are related to an increased range of diversity on the boards. It appears that the diversity of the community that nonprofits operate in and efforts to institutionalize formal diversity-related policies are particularly significant determinants of diversity, although board size and reliance on interorganizational alliances in recruitment of board members also have a small relationship. The implications for theory and practice are examined.
This article combines research on incentives with nonprofit organization theories to derive three "nonprofit characteristics" that influence the use and effectiveness of incentive mechanisms in nonprofit organizations: the lack of undistorted contractible measures for the organization’s overall performance, the relevance of identified employee motivation and the social relationships between the organization and its stakeholders. Building on research from social psychology, the article argues for a more deliberate use of implicit (i.e., not contractually defined) incentives rather than a shift toward the increased use of performance contracts. Because implicit incentives are often subtle (without the need of formal justification to others) and emergent rather than planned, managers are frequently not aware of these mechanisms, and their deliberate use creates a major challenge.
This paper investigates the how the volunteering behaviors of family and household members influence an individual’s decision to volunteer. Using data from the 2005 Current Population Survey’s Volunteering Supplement, I test how living with volunteers and living with people who have never volunteered affect volunteering. I find that living with volunteers dramatically increases the likelihood of volunteering, especially for religious volunteering. The more volunteers the person lives with, the higher the person’s probability of volunteering. People who live with others who say that they have never volunteered in their lives are much less likely to volunteer and volunteer fewer hours. Living with volunteers also changes the methods by which people become involved in volunteering.
Nonprofit human service organizations operating within the same regional network are often faced with dual pressure to compete as well as coordinate administrative operations (by sharing funding, staff, or space) to enhance efficiency. Emerging evidence has demonstrated that competing organizations coordinate, despite the risks. Trust, or perceived trustworthiness between two organizations may mitigate the negative influence of competition on coordination, however there have been few explicit tests of this hypothesis among nonprofit organizations. Drawing on quantitative data collected from a network of 36 nonprofit children’s behavioral health organizations, this article empirically tests how competition and perceived trustworthiness interact to influence administrative coordination. Results support the hypothesis that trustworthiness moderates the influence of competition on administrative coordination. Findings suggest that as competing nonprofit leaders build trust, the more their agencies coordinate their administrative functions. This study highlights the importance of leaders’ perceptions for organizational strategy.
Based on a national representative sample of U.S. internet users, this article examines the impact of associational participation on the likelihood of making an online donation to a charity. The results indicated that internet users engaged in more offline groups and networks are more likely to donate online. Frequency of use of internet and social media do not influence general propensity to donate, thereby suggesting that online donations are a function of actual engagement in social groups, rather than of frequent exposure to the internet media. Individuals involved in choice-based groups were the most likely to donate online, compared to other types of organization participation and/or affiliation. The authors also find that general propensity to donate online (including charities respondents are unaffiliated with) and making monetary contributions specifically to the particular organizations individuals are active in have somewhat distinct determinants.