A Meaningful Break in a Flat Life: The Motivations Behind Overseas Volunteering

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.

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The Internet and the Commitment of Volunteers: Empirical Evidence for the Red Cross

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.

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A Critical Assessment of Social Entrepreneurship: Ostromian Polycentricity and Hayekian Knowledge

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.

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LGBTQ Alumni Philanthropy: Exploring (Un)Conscious Motivations for Giving Related to Identity and Experiences

Using a constructivist case study analysis, we explore philanthropy toward higher education among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) alumni, examining how a person’s LGBTQ identity and experiences (un)consciously affects his, her, or hir1 decision to give philanthropically. Data come from focus groups with 37 advancement staff and 23 LGBTQ alumni at two research extensive universities. Findings reveal unconscious influences of LGBTQ identities on giving, importance of campus climate for LGBTQ individuals, and LGBTQ alumni affinity group involvement. We draw implications from our findings, discussing the need to create a warm campus climate for current students, increase and encourage involvement within LGBTQ affinity groups, systematize data collection to include LGBTQ identities, and develop culturally sensitive solicitations.

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The Relationship Between Philanthropic Foundation Funding and State-Level Policy in the Era of Welfare Reform

Philanthropic foundations play important symbolic and leadership roles in public policy debates by conferring legitimacy upon specific social problems and policy solutions, but little is known about how they respond to policy change and the roles they adopt in relationship to government. We investigate the degree to which foundations are responsive to the policy environment and ask whether they adopt roles consistent with meeting social needs, promoting social innovation, or both. We also investigate how these roles vary by foundation type (independent, community, corporate) and size. Longitudinal data on grants made by more than 1,000 U.S. foundations during the welfare reform era of 1993-2001 show that during this time foundation grants were not responsive to population need; grants to safety net and social service programs did not increase. Large foundations and independent foundations focused on social innovation by funding research and workforce development and giving more in states pursuing policy innovation.

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Nonprofit Performance: Accounting for the Agency of Clients

Performance is a key concern for nonprofits providing human services. Yet our understanding of what drives performance remains incomplete. Existing outcome measurement systems track the programmatic activities staff complete and the extent to which participants respond in programmatically intended ways. However, clients do not just receive services and respond as intended and staff do not simply complete program activities. Drawing on a data set of 47 interviews with frontline staff in eight human service nonprofits, we show how frontline staff work in a partnership with clients to set an agenda for change and achieve desired results. We call this co-determination work and argue that it represents a critical and often neglected dimension of nonprofit performance.

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Nonprofit-Business Partnering Dynamics in the Energy Efficiency Field

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.

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