Tag Archives: volunteer

An Experimental Laboratory Examination of the Psychological and Physiological Effects of Civic Empowerment: A Novel Methodological Approach

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Civic engagement can be empowering and might promote well-being, especially for individuals from marginalized backgrounds. This study uses a novel experimental approach to simulate civic engagement in a laboratory study and to test whether this approach engenders civic empowerment and buffers psychological and physiological reactivity to stress and social rejection. Young adults, primarily experiencing low socioeconomic status (N = 128), were randomly assigned to deliver a speech about a civic or a neutral issue. Giving a civic speech leads to higher feelings of empowerment compared with giving a neutral speech. Delivering the civic speech buffers sympathetic nervous system reactivity to stress (measured through the pre-ejection period) and leads to higher identification with social class background. This is one of the first studies to use an experimental approach and psychophysiological methods to examine the effects of civic empowerment on civic, psychosocial, and physiological reactivity outcomes.

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Volunteering and Self-Assessed Health Within EU28 Countries: Evidence From the EWCS

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The effects of voluntary activities on individual well-being have been investigated extensively in the literature. In this study, the relationship between self-assessed health and volunteering is examined from a cross-country perspective by considering respondents’ characteristics and other voluntary liabilities, employing the Sixth European Working Conditions Survey. This data set allows us to explore, by implementing an Ordered Probit model, the association of self-assessed health status with charity activities performed specifically by workers. Among the working population in the European Union, our results show that, although volunteering—as well as other unpaid tasks, such as informal helping—are statistically significant, voluntary activities do not seem to be strongly associated with individual perceived health status.

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Accountable and Thus Legitimate? A Comparative Study of Philanthropists

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article takes a comparative qualitative approach to explore the intertwined external accountability and legitimacy attempts of independently wealthy philanthropists. By comparing accountability forums and institutional logics stated by philanthropists, it is investigated to whom they are externally accountable and how they legitimate their controversial funding of public goods. The study compares the external accountability and legitimacy attempts of philanthropists with that of public agencies, corporations, and fundraising-dependent nonprofits. Empirically, this is a cross-sectional study of funders supporting human embryonic stem cell research in either California or Sweden. The study shows that it is through local isomorphism, rather than any specific accountability forum or institutional logic, that philanthropists are accountable and thus legitimate their giving. This is in contrast to other types of funders, which are more similar within each form when comparing accountability forums across societies, and more similar within societies in their usage of institutional logics, with certain patterned statements. In addition, philanthropists in both societies are more detached than any other type of funder as regards both specific patient populations and the general electorate. This finding raises questions on what philanthropists’ private funding for public purposes actually entails.

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The Perceived Differences: The Sector Stereotype of Social Service Providers

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. What difference does “nonprofitness” make is a fundamental question for nonprofit research. Although being held as the basic assumption of the contract failure theory, the sector difference perceived by individuals remains as an open question for multiple methodological problems. Here, we present evidence from three experiments for further empirical exploration of the perceived sector difference with improved research design. Our findings suggest a general pattern of sector stereotype: people perceive nonprofits as being warmer and slightly more competent than for-profits. More importantly, we show that such stereotypical understanding mainly results from people’s repugnance against profit-seeking intention instead of preferences toward nonprofits in the social service market. Such pattern differs slightly across three subareas being tested. Finally, we find more relevant information about the organization serves as a potential moderator that weakens the effect of being a nonprofit, which blurs the sector boundary in a given market.

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Toward a Typology of Critical Nonprofit Studies: A Literature Review

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This review examines scholarship in key nonprofit journals over four decades. Its purpose is to (a) analyze the extent, nature, and contribution of critical nonprofit scholarship and its trajectory over time and (b) call on scholars, research institutions, and journals in the field to engage the kinds of insights these increasingly marginalized approaches bring, providing space for them to join, challenge, and shape the research conversation. Findings show only 4% of articles published within the period examined adopt critical approaches, with great variability in the ways articles exemplify core tenets of critical scholarship, and a general dampening of critical work over time. This conservatism may result from the rejection of less understood philosophies and methodologies of critical inquiry in favor of more mainstream (positivistic) models of social science. Our primary contribution is to advance a typology explicating the pluralism inherent in critical approaches to nonprofit studies, and their strengths and limitations.

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Bringing Beneficiaries More Centrally Into Nonprofit Management Education and Research

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In the early 1970s, scholars studying a variety of service organizations realized that beneficiaries were not only external stakeholders who received services but they were also important organizational actors whose participation in the organization affected the organization’s structure, functioning, and outcomes. Tracing these early observations, and the related concepts of coproduction, value cocreation, and partial membership, this article considers why these ideas have not been more central to nonprofit education and research. After offering likely explanations, the article reports results from a systematic literature review in three nonprofit journals. The results show that despite the limited attention to these ideas, research findings reveal that beneficiaries are important organizational actors, whose participation in the nonprofit matters for the work of staff, leaders, and ultimately for social impact. The article concludes with suggestions for bringing beneficiaries more centrally into nonprofit management research and education.

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Subnational Variations in Civil Society Development: The Surprising Case of Russia

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The recent considerable body of research designed to explain variations in nonprofit development among countries tends to gloss over regional disparities that may pose challenges to, or distort, national conclusions. This article therefore takes such analysis down to the regional level in the “hard case” of post–Soviet Russia. What it finds is that, despite its reputation as a uniformly hostile environment for nonprofit organizations, Russia exhibits considerable regional variations in the scale and characteristics of its nonprofit sector. To determine what lies behind these variations, the article then tests four of the most prevalent theories, focusing, respectively, on variations in levels of prosperity, cultural sentiments, popular preferences for collective goods, and underlying power relations among key social actors. The results not only shed important light on the factors responsible for regional variations in Russia’s nonprofit development, but also demonstrate the general importance of bringing the subnational level into analyses of nonprofit development.

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Connecting Group Dynamics, Governance, and Performance: Evidence From Charter School Boards

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In this article, we build on the existing literatures on small group dynamics and public and nonprofit governance by exploring the link between small group dynamics, governance, and nonprofit performance. The results provide evidence that nonprofit governing boards can improve organizational performance by improving their governance behaviors. Specifically, we link survey data from Minnesota nonprofit charter school board members to hard measures of organizational performance in a path analysis predicting school-level math and reading proficiency levels. We find that boards exhibiting better group dynamics are more active in key governance areas, and that active governance is linked to increased organizational outcomes. Our findings advance scholarly understanding of nonprofit governance by identifying a pathway between nonprofit board governing dynamics and sustainable organizational performance gains. We conclude with practical advice on how nonprofit boards can increase their organizational performance through improved small group dynamics.

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The Governance of Public–Nonprofit Service Networks: Four Propositions

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. By integrating literature on governance processes with literature on network integration, we investigate the governance of mandated lead-organization public–nonprofit service networks. We argue that the relationship between the governing public actor and the participating nonprofit organizations as well as the governance processes involved are dependent upon the level of integration that is established in the network in terms of the centrality of the leading public agency and the density among the nonprofit actors. We formulate four propositions and distinguish archetypes of governance that guide further research and practice.

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Charity Density and Social Need: A Longitudinal Perspective

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The distribution of charitable organizations in an equitable and socially just manner is a long-standing policy concern in the United Kingdom and many other jurisdictions. Geographic variations are important as they are linked to potentially inequitable service provision and opportunities for participation in voluntary activities. This study links large-scale administrative data on charities registered in England and Wales with local authority-level measures of material deprivation for 5 U.K. census years (1971–2011). Count and spatial regression models show evidence of nonlinear associations between charity density and social need, and changes in the shape of this distribution over time. In general, charity density is highest in the least deprived local authorities but this varies across different types of organizations and census years. These results provide important new insights into the evolving relationship between charity density and social need, and demonstrate the value of adopting more advanced, longitudinal statistical approaches for studying this phenomenon.

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The Public Service Motivated Volunteer: Devoting Time or Effort?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Non-profit organizations, corporate volunteer programs, and government workplace schemes are asking volunteers for their time and effort. But, with the changes in how people volunteer, such as episodic, micro, and cyber volunteering, those managing volunteers need to understand whether they should focus on encouraging volunteers to donate more time or effort. Using public service motivation to measure volunteer’s propensity to engage in volunteering, we compare three outcomes: time spent volunteering, frequency of volunteering, and volunteering intensity. In a sample of 411 volunteers, we find public service motivation is associated with more time spent volunteering, increased frequency, and higher levels of volunteering intensity. However, volunteering intensity explains the most variance. These findings suggest that how the individual perceives they exert volunteering intensity may be useful among public service motivated volunteers.

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“That’s My Job”: Tensions Between Employees and Volunteers in the Fire Service

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Volunteering has gained momentum in the public sector as a way of maintaining or improving service delivery. Yet, research into public sector volunteering is sparse, including the unique relationship between employees and volunteers and the implications of adding volunteering programs to established structures. Based on ethnographic case study over 9 months with a Fire and Rescue Service in England and a total of 26 interviews with employees and volunteers, we explain tensions between the two groups and how they are played out in everyday practice. In doing so, we extend theory of cooperation and competition by introducing the concept of pseudo employees, or volunteers as employees in the making, which explains both organizational and intergroup mechanisms that set volunteers up to fail, undermining their contribution and the validity of public sector volunteering programs.

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Transnational Nonprofits’ Social Media Use: A Survey of Communications Professionals and an Analysis of Organizational Characteristics

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In response to rapid changes in the communication environment, nonprofits are increasingly relying on digital technologies to achieve their communication goals. We examine factors influencing nonprofits’ digital-based external communication based on a survey of communications directors at transnational nonprofits, with an analysis of each organization’s characteristics as described on its Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990 and website. Our results show that, at the organizational level, nonprofits with stronger leadership support concerning social media activities were more likely to use different digital platforms and value more various functions of social media for external communication as compared with those lacking such support. At the individual level, communications directors’ perceived ease of social media use and time in their current position significantly influenced their emphasis on different functions of social media. This research fills a gap in the literature by analyzing both organizational characteristics and individual communications director’s attributes in assessing nonprofits’ social media use.

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Crowdfunding Acts as a Funding Substitute and a Legitimating Signal for Nonprofit Performing Arts Organizations

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This research examines the relationship between crowdfunding campaigns by nonprofit performing arts organizations and their overall fundraising portfolio. Using a dataset compiled from the CrowdBerkeley Initiative and the Cultural Data Project, we find an important link between campaign success and organization age. For young organizations, crowdfunding success attracts funding in the subsequent year, while a failed campaign significantly hampers the organization’s ability to raise funds, suggesting that crowdfunding acts as a legitimating signal. In contrast, older organizations appear to be insulated from the negative effects of a failed campaign. In addition, higher amounts raised in the campaign are associated with a substitution or “crowding out” effect for other types of funding for young organizations, but this effect reverses for older organizations. This suggests that crowdfunding should not only be considered a tool for younger organizations, but also holds promise for established organizations.

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A Desire for Growth? An Exploratory Study of Growth Aspirations Among Nascent Nonprofit Entrepreneurs

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This research note examines the growth aspirations, and beliefs about growth, based on survey responses from 57 nascent nonprofit entrepreneurs. About 21% of the respondents displayed strong growth ambitions and 40% declared they do not consider growth a current and/or highly prioritized matter. A majority of the nascent nonprofit entrepreneurs recognized that growth could have both positive and negative implications on their emerging nonprofit. Only 14% perceived growth as a ubiquitous positive feat. Perceived positive implications of growth included enhanced impact and reputation, and some of the perceived negative implications of growth were loss of control and increased workload. Furthermore, drawing on brief follow-up conversations with eight respondents, this research note illuminates how growth preferences can evolve as the nonprofit evolve, and even nonprofit entrepreneurs with clear and explicit aspirations to grow may not have the ability to grow.

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Personal Values and Choice of Charitable Cause: An Exploration of Donors’ Giving Behavior

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Research shows that personal values influence the decision to donate to charity. However, studies of values and charitable giving have not yet examined how refined values relate to an individual donor’s choice of charitable cause. In this article, we examine relations between donors’ value priorities and their support for nine different types of charitable cause. We do this across two samples of donors from Australia and the United States. We show clear evidence of refined value motivations for donations to environmental, animal welfare, religious or spiritual, and international aid charities, as well as giving to other types of causes (i.e., arts or culture, education, health services, community or welfare services, and sporting clubs). Our findings suggest that the study of donor’s values can offer a more nuanced understanding of what motivates their choice of charitable cause, with the potential to inform fundraising research and practice.

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Major Donors and Higher Education: Are STEM Donors Different from Other Donors?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Philanthropic support of higher education is a growing area of interest among academic fundraisers and philanthropy scholars. The academic fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), in particular, are in need of a better understanding of their major donors. This article analyzes a unique database of announced gifts to higher education institutions from 1995 to 2017 to investigate relationships between major donors’ characteristics and the magnitude of their gifts to STEM and all other academic disciplines. Major donors to STEM are disproportionately entrepreneurs who, on average, give larger gifts to STEM than other major donors. Quantile regressions reveal a positive and statistically significant relationship between major donors’ entrepreneurial status and gift amounts at the 99th quantile (worth US$100 million or more). As major funding sources for academic STEM are increasingly threatened, these findings are pertinent to academic institutions seeking to leverage major donors as an alternative source of funding.

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Bringing People Closer: The Prosocial Effects of Immersive Media on Users’ Attitudes and Behavior

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This experimental study examined how varying the degree of immersiveness of a short documentary about a remote health issue influenced users’ reported spatial presence, empathic parasocial interaction, and individual issue involvement. Higher-order responses, namely, the desire for information and willingness to donate to the cause, were also analyzed. The documentary was shown to 85 participants using three different technologies with varying degrees of immersiveness (high, moderate, and low). The results show that the level of the technology’s immersiveness gradually increases the spatial presence, empathic parasocial interaction, and issue involvement of the user. While participants of the highly immersive condition reported a higher desire for additional information, the results on donation behavior were less conclusive.

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Going the Extra Mile: The Liability of Foreignness in U.S. Foundation International Grantmaking to Local NGOs

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Local nongovernmental organizations (local NGOs) based in less economically advanced countries suffer from a “liability of foreignness” in attracting international funding: They are geographically, linguistically, and culturally distant from funders in more economically advanced countries. As a result, although U.S. foundations gave 27,572 grants to support programming occurring within less economically advanced countries between 2000 and 2012, only 10.4% went to local NGOs within those areas. We argue that while favoring NGOs in more economically advanced countries minimizes funder-NGO foreignness, or the distance between the foundation and the grantee NGO, it increases NGO-programming foreignness, or the distance between the grantee NGO and the site of their programming, creating crucial trade-offs. We draw upon organizational theory to predict under what conditions U.S. foundations would fund local NGOs, finding that local NGOs receive more support from older foundations and those with greater geographic and program area experience. Furthermore, local NGOs receive larger, longer grants but with lower probabilities of being renewed. These results identify the conditions under which foundations “go the extra mile” and fund local NGOs.

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