Tag Archives: nonprofit

Combining Nonprofit Service and Advocacy: Organizational Structures and Hybridity

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Facilitating political engagement is a vital function of the nonprofit sector. While some public charities engage in political activities like policy advocacy, many focus exclusively on their core service mission. Current nonprofit research does not adequately theorize the inherent tension between service and advocacy activities. We conceptualize nonprofits engaging in service and advocacy as hybrid organizations that incorporate two distinct logics. Using the organizational hybridity literature, and empirical data from a survey of Massachusetts nonprofits, we examine how the logics of service provision and political advocacy are combined and managed across a sample of nonprofits. We find that nonprofit service–advocacy hybrids adopt an array of organizational structures to accommodate these logics, including decoupled, segregated, outsourced, and blended structures. Our results suggest that compartmentalization may be a common strategy and that certain organizational structures are related to the presence of mission integration, funding reliance, competition, and advocacy objectives.

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Nudging Charitable Giving: What (If Anything) Is Wrong With It?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Nudging techniques can help charities to increase donations. In this article, we first provide a systematic overview of prototypical nudges that promote charitable giving. Second, we argue that plenty of the ethical objections raised against nudges, such as the exploitation of power they involve and the arguably intrusive and deceptive nature, are not specific to nudging itself. Carefully designing nudges can help to avoid these worries. Third, given that most concerns boil down to the worry that nudges infringe on people’s autonomy, we analyze when this could nevertheless be justified. We differentiate between perfect duties, imperfect duties, and supererogatory acts and argue that nudges are (a) morally permissible (even when they violate autonomy) when it comes to perfect duties and can (b) provide the best available strategy when it comes to imperfect duties. That said, we also analyze the conditions under which nudging charitable giving is impermissible.

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Are the Wages Paid by Non-Profits Sensitive to Volunteering? Evidence From France

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Volunteers and paid staff frequently work alongside each other in nonprofit organizations. Nevertheless, the possible impact of volunteering on the wages of the paid staff has hardly ever been investigated due to the scarcity of data suited to such research. Based on the matching of two French databases and using several indicators relating to volunteering, this article examines the relationship between volunteering and wages by carrying out investigations that differentiate between employees depending on their position in the socio-occupational hierarchy and the field of activity of their organizations. The results confirm the value of such an approach based on disaggregated data by revealing the diversity of situations. This diversity ranges from some cases where no relationship is observed between volunteering and wages to others where there is a negative relationship and even in a few cases, a positive one.

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The Good-looking Giver Effect: The Relationship Between Doing Good and Looking Good

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Evidence exists that beautiful is seen as good: the halo effect wherein more physically attractive people are perceived to be good, and the reverse halo that good is seen as beautiful. Yet research has rarely examined the evidence linking the beautiful with the good, or the reverse, without the halo effect. We examine the relationship between physical attractiveness (beauty) and giving behaviors (good), where ratings of attractiveness are independent of giving behaviors. We use three U.S. datasets: (a) a nationally representative sample of older adults (NSHAP), (b) a nationally representative longitudinal study of adolescents (ADD Health), and (c) the 54-year Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS), to present evidence that these two characteristics (attractiveness and giving) are indeed correlated without the halo effect. We find a ‘good-looking giver’ effect–that more physically attractive people are more likely to engage in giving behaviors, and vice versa. Thus, in ecologically valid real-world samples, people who do good are also likely to look good.

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Do U.S. Faith-Based Social Service Organizations Resist Collaboration? Examining the Role of Religiosity and Operational Capacity in Interorganizational Partnerships

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Although nonprofit collaboration is commonplace, recent research suggests that faith-based organizations (FBOs) are less likely to collaborate than other nonprofits. This study builds on prior FBO, collaboration, and nonprofit capacity research to examine the influence of religiosity and operational capacity on FBOs’ within- and cross-sector partnerships. Findings from a survey with 197 FBOs across the United States reveal a complex picture of how religiosity and operational capacity influence FBO collaboration. More specifically, staff religiosity was positively related to cross-sector partnerships. Service religiosity (i.e., religious elements in staff–client interactions) was negatively associated with collaboration with government agencies. Results also indicated that FBOs with higher operational capacity had more partners in the nonprofit, business, and public sectors. These findings suggest that FBOs generally lack the operational capacity for collaboration and that service religiosity creates additional barriers to it. This article concludes with implications for research in FBOs, interorganizational collaboration, and nonprofit capacity.

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Transacting Business and Transforming Communities: The Mission Statements of Community Foundations Around the Globe

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Analyzing mission statements from 1,420 community foundations, this research aims to determine whether community foundations portray themselves as primarily transactional or transformational in their leadership style. Results indicate that approximately half of the community foundations present themselves as transformational dominant although about a third demonstrate transactional dominance. The well-established leadership categories of transformational and transactional (a) give us a new way to explore community foundations’ roles in their communities, (b) help us better understand the way community foundations perceive themselves and their leadership, and (c) provide a mechanism to assess how community foundations are presenting their missions to their communities. In addition, by examining organizations as the unit of analysis, this research answers long-standing calls in leadership studies to consider levels of analysis beyond the individual.

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Coopetition Among Social Enterprises: A Three-Level Dynamic Motivated by Social and Economic Goals

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. While scholars have analyzed the emergence and characteristics of social enterprises, and their internal tensions between conflicting logics, we have little understanding of the dynamics at the interorganizational level between social enterprises. Based on an in-depth, qualitative study with work integration social enterprises in the secondhand clothes industry, we uncover the dynamics of simultaneous cooperation and competition. Our analysis shows that social enterprises simultaneously—rather than sequentially—engage in coopetitive actions at three levels of action: operational, stakeholder, and environmental interface. At each level, social enterprises engage in different coopetitive actions that do not easily fall under the commercial–social tension usually studied in the social entrepreneurship literature. Social and economic goals motivate both competition and cooperation, but we argue that this plays out differently at each level of coopetition. We conclude with implications for theory and practice.

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Snuggling Together or Exploring Options? A Multilevel Analysis of Nonprofit Partnership Formation and Evolution in an Unstable Institutional Context

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. What predicts the formation and evolution of partnerships in unstable institutional contexts? We answer this question by examining the partnership field of environmental nonprofit organizations based in Lebanon. Employing descriptive and inferential network methods, we find organizational attributes such as scope, operations, and age to be significant predictors of partnership formation. In particular, organizations working in the same issue areas are more likely to partner with each other; age and scope complementarity also drives the partnership formation over time. Furthermore, the results reveal that organizations are more likely to form partnerships with their partners’ partners, and consequently stable clusters or subgroups emerge over time. These findings are suggestive but are the first to provide a multilevel analysis of nonprofit partnership formation and evolution.

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Neighborhood Development Organizations and Neighborhood Disadvantage: Race, Resources, and Inequality in Chicago

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article analyzes the relationship between neighborhood development organizations (NDOs) and neighborhood disadvantage in Chicago between 1990 and 2010. NDOs are often seen as interdependent partners with local and state governments in the co-production of social welfare, but not all have equally beneficial effects. Instead, NDOs are associated with lowering rates of disadvantage in majority non-Hispanic White neighborhoods, leaving other neighborhoods behind, especially predominately Black neighborhoods. Organizational resources and residential mobility help explain this inequality. NDOs in majority Black neighborhoods are less likely to have the organizational resources that enable NDOs to affect neighborhood disadvantage. When NDOs are associated with the lowering of neighborhood disadvantage, it is often in neighborhoods with preexisting advantage or high rates of residential mobility. As cities continue to rely on nonprofit organizations such as NDOs for neighborhood development, this research gives a clearer understanding of how this reliance may contribute to perpetuating racial inequalities.

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Mapping the Research Landscape of Strategic Human Resource Management in Nonprofit Organizations: A Systematic Review and Avenues for Future Research

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. A decade after key theoretical developments in strategic human resource management (SHRM) in nonprofit organizations (NPOs), we still lack a comprehensive understanding of the disparate strands of empirical evidence. Furthermore, this growing field requires integration and synthesis of new themes and conceptual developments. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review of SHRM studies in NPOs published between 2008 and 2017. Our review of 74 articles synthesizes a fragmented body of research and maps out the relationships into a more integrated whole. By mapping the research landscape, we provide insights into the tensions NPOs face between external pressures and values, highlighting the underexplored role of managerial discretion in shaping NPOs’ differing responses. Our review expands the resource orientation to include a social capital dimension and identifies new empirical manifestations of human resource management (HRM) types. We offer avenues for research on content, process, outcomes of SHRM, and discuss how the interplay across key themes can inform the development of the field.

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Bridging and Bonding: Disentangling Two Mechanisms Underlying the Diversity–Performance Relationship

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Although extensive research has examined whether diversity hinders or improves organizational performance, the aggregate results remain inconclusive. Social bridging theories argue that diverse organizations perform better than homogeneous organizations, while social bonding theories argue that diverse organizations perform worse. When scholars test these competing theories, they often specify bridging and bonding as the inverse of one another. This study instead specifies them as distinct mechanisms and measures them independently using data from a national study of organizations containing information on the race, class, gender, and religion of each organization’s leadership team and the frequency, type, and content of their interactions. The analysis indicates that both bridging and bonding are positively associated with an organization’s performance; however, their respective performance benefits depend on the type of task being performed. The results suggest that social diversity facilitates performance related to accessing external resources and social interaction facilitates performance related to internal coordination.

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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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