Tag Archives: nonprofit

Volunteer Engageability: A Conceptual Framework

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In this article, we introduce the concept of “engageability,” which refers to the ability of volunteer-employing nonprofit organizations to engage, motivate, and manage volunteers to maximize their potential and sustain the volunteering human resource. Engageability conceptually complements the two well-established concepts of volunteerability and recruitability. By offering this conceptual framework, we enable volunteer-employing organizations to assess the degree to which they are engaging volunteers and to make improvements in this regard. Engageability questions how organizations that have already recruited volunteers make themselves volunteer-friendly and engage volunteers effectively. Based on the literature, we offer a comprehensive framework that considers a large set of organizational practices from germane to engageability, framing them into four fundamental clusters: (a) value-based (ideological), (b) managerial, (c) physical, and (d) supportive connections. We introduce the conceptual model and provide explanation for each cluster and each with-cluster organizational practices and discuss the potential contribution of this conceptual model.

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Impact of Experienced Regret on Donation Willingness: Advertising Appeal and Framing Effect

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Donors often experience donation regret caused by charity wrongdoings and mismanagement, which will reduce future donation willingness. The literature has not fully delineated the underlying mechanism of donors’ response to experienced regret. The effective advertising appeal and message framing which could be used to mitigate the detrimental impact of experienced donation regret also remain unknown. This research dissects the impact of experienced regret on donation willingness by revealing the mediational effect of anticipated regret and the moderating role of advertising appeal (altruistic vs. egoistic) and message framing (gain- vs. loss-framed). The findings of two studies demonstrate that experienced regret negatively influences donation willingness through anticipated regret. Compared with egoistic appeals, altruistic appeals are more effective in extenuating the impacts of experienced regret. Gain-framed (compared with loss-framed) messages better mitigate anticipated regret and result in a higher level of willingness to donate. In addition to theoretical contributions, actionable practical implications are discussed.

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Lower Prices for Customers, and Less Charity Care? The Prospects for Mixed-Market Competition With Nonprofit and Hybrid Firms

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In recent years, the emergence of new legal forms allowing for-profit firms to incorporate with a formal commitment to both profit and social purpose has disrupted the traditional American business-charity dichotomy. The arrival of these hybrid firms can be expected to affect the functioning of markets and poses a potential challenge to the role played by large nonprofits that provide quasi-public services such as education and health care. We construct duopoly models of competition between a nonprofit firm and either a traditional for-profit firm or a hybrid firm, simultaneously choosing output levels of a homogeneous good. We show that when the nonprofit competes with a hybrid firm it becomes less competitive in the sense that its output level contracts, it raises less net revenue with which to fund charity care, and it is more easily driven out of the market.

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The Role of Community Participation in Cross-Sector Social Partnerships

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Communities, intended as self-organized informal groups, are much less structured than nonprofit organizations typically considered by Cross-Sector Social Partnership (CSSP) studies. Building on the empirical investigation of a real CSSP, this article offers an in-depth analysis of the ambivalent dynamics implied by partnership with such communities. Our findings indicate that the mechanisms that create room for innovative collaboration opportunities made available by these communities (such as co-innovation, pricing co-determination, co-financing, and democratic decision making) can also, over time, adversely affect the partnership and cause it to permanently lose its shared purpose. In our conclusion, we provide potential remedies for the latter scenario and discuss how they may enrich CSSP literature.

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Rethinking Volunteering as a Natural Resource: A Conceptual Typology

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Volunteering can be understood as a human-made, renewable resource that can be grown and recycled, and whose continuation and volume of flow can be influenced by human beings positively as well as negatively. We extend the metaphor and break down the monolithic concept into three categories: traditional (wild salmon), third party (farmed fish), and spontaneous (marine zooplankton). Each volunteer resource (a) manifests in particular forms of volunteer service, (b) serves different purposes, (c) has different antecedents, (d) is harvested in different ways by different stakeholders meeting different conditions, and requires a specific form of management, based on its (e) benefits and challenges, (f) resource level, (g) propagation methods, and (h) sustainability needs. The three resources are fluid and interact dynamically. The distinction of three volunteer resources and their dynamics extends the conceptualization of volunteering as a natural resource and informs a new research agenda.

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The (R)evolution of the Social Entrepreneurship Concept: A Critical Historical Review

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The contested concept of social entrepreneurship has gained particular prominence in academic literature over the last few decades. To explore how patterns of understandings relating to social entrepreneurship have emerged and shifted over time, we undertook a critical historical review focusing on the most highly cited social entrepreneurship articles in each of five time periods over the last 30 years. We identify four thematic areas—conceptualization, theoretical approaches, the search for data, and social change outcomes—characteristic of each period, allowing us to plot the terrain of social entrepreneurship scholarship over time. We show how patterns emerge across these themes over time and relate our analysis to wider developments in the field. In concluding, we discuss how the concept has been theoretically and conceptually enriched by an ability to accommodate critique.

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Nonprofit Organizations and the Evaluation of Social Impact: A Research Program to Advance Theory and Practice

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article proposes a research program with two goals: (a) to support nonprofit leaders to productively engage evaluation and (b) to advance a meso-level theory of nonprofit evaluation that recognizes the diverse ways nonprofits contribute to social change. Such a research program is timely, as evaluation becomes increasingly institutionalized in the sector in ways that constrain nonprofit leaders from engaging productively with evaluation to advance their social impact. This research program brings existing nonprofit scholarship into conversation with evaluation scholarship and puts forward a research agenda organized around the practical dilemmas facing nonprofit leaders as they answer four key evaluation questions: what to evaluate, for what purpose, using which criteria, and with what evidence and methods. By anchoring a research program around these four questions, we seek to reopen the possibilities for how scholars can support nonprofit leaders in engaging evaluation to enhance their social impact.

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Exploring Nonprofit Advocacy Research Methods and Design: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The study of nonprofit advocacy has evolved significantly over the past two decades, yet gaps still remain in our understanding of the processes and roles of nonprofit organizations in policymaking and policy change. In part, these gaps may be exacerbated by limitations in the methodologies and research designs used to examine advocacy, despite the growing scholarship base. To investigate this possibility, this article reports the findings of a systematic literature review of 264 scholarly articles that examine the antecedents, processes, and/or outcomes of nonprofit advocacy. The sampling method relies heavily on scholarship published in six leading nonprofit and public administration journals. Although theory suggests that nonprofit organizations have a vital role in facilitating policy processes, much of the advocacy research relies upon a limited form of research questions and methods. Findings also reveal a need for greater precision in describing data, design, and methods, and suggest a need for clearer, validated measures of both nonprofit advocacy efforts and the resulting outcomes. Finally, we suggest new areas for nonprofit advocacy research, including investigating new venues, different levels of analysis, employing emerging research methods, and examining advocacy over time.

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Meta-analysis of Volunteer Motives Using the Volunteer Functions Inventory to Predict Volunteer Satisfaction, Commitment, and Behavior

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In 2017, about 30% of all U.S. adults volunteered for a total of 6.9 billion hours. This raises the question, why do so many people volunteer? Extant research has produced highly variable estimates of the effect sizes of various motivating factors, and there has been little to no research on potential moderators (i.e., study-level covariates that might strengthen or weaken the main effect of volunteer motives). We meta-analyzed 61 studies (N = 38,327) to estimate the effect sizes of six volunteer motivators (Volunteer Functions Inventory [VFI]; Clary et al., 1998) in predicting outcomes (satisfaction, commitment, intention to continue, and frequency). Results demonstrate that all six motivators significantly predicted the three outcome variables ([math] ranging from .12 to .44). Values was the strongest predictor by far, based on the largest effect size and a post hoc relative importance analysis. Moderator analyses indicated some differences in effect sizes across gender and student status; there were few differences across geographic location, race-ethnicity, college degree attainment, and employment status. Implications for volunteer managers and organizations on how to best work with volunteers are described.

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The Opportunity Costs of Volunteering: Evidence From Germany

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This study analyzes the effect of opportunity costs on the decision to volunteer, the extent of volunteering, and how opportunity costs are related to competing volunteering activities. Our results reveal that opportunity costs operationalized as net wage per hour had the predicted negative effect on the extent of volunteering but a positive effect on the decision to volunteer. When the individual hourly net wage of the surveyed volunteers is applied, volunteering has average opportunity costs of about 14€/h. As volunteering competes with other activities, we assigned opportunity costs to different activities such as family, hobbies, paid work, or spending time with friends. Results show that, overall, opportunity costs of volunteering are especially related to family activities and less so to paid work. This implies that volunteering activities, in general, compete with family activities rather than with paid work or other activities.

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Determinants of Voluntary Organizations’ Attention on Facebook: The Case of Norwegian Voluntary Organizations

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. By offering low-cost tools of communication and coordination, social media platforms such as Facebook may constitute a substitute for coordination by means of hierarchical organization. Social media may disrupt, appearing as a “weapon of the weak,” a relationship that has traditionally linked membership to resources and influence. Against such a backdrop, this article investigates the extent to which organizational features and activities as well as the content of Facebook posts predict the reach and audience of voluntary organizations on Facebook. By linking organizational survey data and social media data and harnessing machine learning methods, hypotheses linking organizational features and the reach and level of attention obtained by voluntary organizations on Facebook are tested. The results support the notion that social media may work as a substitute for hierarchical forms of membership mobilization but do not support the “weapon of the weak” hypothesis.

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Nonprofit Scandals: A Systematic Review and Conceptual Framework

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. High-profile charity scandals have always represented a threat to the nonprofit sector, which relies on public trust and funding to operate. We systematically review 30 years of empirical research on scandals involving nonprofits and present both quantitative and qualitative syntheses of the 71 articles identified. Informed by this review, we generate a conceptual model theorizing the causes and consequences of scandals, as well as how nonprofits can best prevent and respond to organizational transgressions. We then put forward a research agenda that elaborates five key factors that are especially important for understanding nonprofit scandals but remain understudied: (a) integrity versus competence violations, (b) moral licensing, (c) the multilevel nature of organizational transgressions, (d) sectoral causes of scandal, and (e) effective responses. We close the article with recommendations for nonprofit managers about how to conceptualize, prevent, plan for, and respond to transgressions occurring within their organizations, and any resulting scandals.

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The Limited Benefits of Using Virtual Reality 360° Videos to Promote Empathy and Charitable Giving

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Charitable organizations have embraced virtual reality (VR); however, scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness for social good often uses poor experimental methodology and finds inconsistent results. We conducted a rigorous randomized control trial testing whether 360° video virtual reality increases empathy and charitable donations. Participants (N = 155) were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) Classic: 360° footage of child refugees, (b) Boost: the same, but with perspective-taking instructions, (c) Audiobook: a control condition with the same information about child refugees but in text format, or (d) Waiting Room: another control condition with a 360° view of a waiting room. Although the Classic and Boost conditions increased emotional empathy compared to controls, they did not improve cognitive empathy more than the audiobook. Moreover, any empathic gains were mostly extinguished after 10 days. Critically, the Classic and Boost conditions did not influence charitable donations to a relevant charity (UNICEF). Therefore, charitable organizations may wish to tentatively reconsider their investment in 360° videos as, although they appear to make people feel empathic in the moment, these feelings do not appear to translate into tangible action.

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Government Regulation and the Political Activities of Nonprofits

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. We propose a conceptual model of the political activities of nonprofits that qualify for exemption under subsections of the Internal Revenue Code other than 501(c)(3), including social welfare organizations, civic leagues, social clubs, and so on, which considers three categories of explanatory factors: organizational capacity, financial strategy, and operating environment. Using a Heckman selection model with longitudinal IRS 990 data, we find government regulation to be an obstacle for nonprofits to engage in the policy process. Political activities of non-501(c)(3) organizations are also negatively associated with government support, suggesting these organizations perceive government intervention differently from 501(c)(3) organizations when engaging in political activities.

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Simmer Down Now! A Study of Revenue Volatility and Dissolution in Nonprofit Organizations

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Many nonprofit organizations operate under immense financial pressure. Revenue volatility is a common target for managers to minimize under the assumption that maintaining consistent revenue enhances the viability of the organization while high revenue volatility may disrupt planning. However, the relationship between revenue volatility and the viability of nonprofit organizations is poorly understood. This article presents the first empirical test of the link between volatility and dissolution in U.S. public charities from 2010 to 2018 (N = 2,126,894) using discrete time survival models. The results show that a 10% increase in revenue volatility predicts an increase in dissolution risk between 7% and 14%. In addition, the effect of revenue volatility varies by the age of the organization, suggesting volatility may be a greater threat to older organizations than to those newly formed. Implications for managers and future research are discussed.

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The Third Sector and Climate Change: A Literature Review and Agenda for Future Research and Action

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article presents a summary review of the voluntary sector literature on third sector organizations (TSOs) and climate change. As governments around the world fail to respond adequately to the climate crisis, TSOs are called upon to work with governments, advocate for policy change, and support communities. However, the literature on TSOs and climate change remains limited. We reviewed 68 articles about TSOs and climate change and identified four mechanisms for voluntary action on climate change, which vary on two dimensions—focusing on advocacy or implementation and occurring within or outside government—and include policy advocacy, advocacy for behavior change, participation in governance, and direct interventions. We conclude with five key areas for future research: explaining the relationship between advocacy strategies and context, foregrounding the role of TSOs in climate governance, exploring direct interventions by TSOs, examining community-based TSOs, and linking TSO action and climate outcomes.

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Coalition Networks for the Green New Deal: Nonprofit Public Policy Advocacy in the Age of Social Media

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Social media is an important tool for nonprofit public policy advocacy. To help nonprofits effectively utilize social media in advocacy efforts, this study proposes a measurement framework of social media social capital based on social networks. Specifically, in this study, we examine the relationships between social media capital and symbolic, political capital on social media. We study how a group of nonprofits utilizes Twitter to advocate for the Green New Deal and their interaction with politicians, activists, and publics on social media during the 2019 presidential primaries. Our analysis shows that different dimensions of social media capital significantly influence nonprofits’ social media-based symbolic capital and political capital.

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Did 9/11 Affect Donations to Islamic Charities in the United States?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article studies the impact of exogenous shocks on nonprofit operations by assessing the effect of 9/11 on donations to Muslim American nonprofits. The first narrative promoted by civil rights groups and some Islamic charities argues that donations to Islamic charities have declined. Individuals are afraid of getting indicted by law enforcement agencies for advertently or inadvertently funding an organization that supports terrorism. The second narrative is that donations to Islamic charities have increased post-9/11 as donors push back against Islamophobia by supporting Muslim nonprofits. I systematically assess these narratives using difference-in-difference (DiD) methodology and find that 9/11 had no significant impact on overall contributions to Islamic charities. Although donations to internationally focused Islamic charities declined in the year following 9/11, when compared with domestic-focused Islamic charities, they also recovered shortly after that. Moreover, they did not reduce significantly when compared with non-Islamic internationally focused organizations.

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Volunteering in the United Kingdom During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Who Started and Who Quit?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. I examine how volunteering dynamics changed in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic relying on data from the “Understanding Society” survey. Descriptive analyses and linear probability models yield three main findings: First, the share of volunteers (for all causes) dropped at least by a third during the first lockdown and did not increase until March 2021. Second, disproportional (absolute) declines occurred among the elderly, women, and those with higher education. Elderly individuals were particularly likely to quit their voluntary engagement, while the propensity of starting declined particularly among higher educated individuals. Third, volunteering in response to COVID-19 was performed by only 3.4% of all respondents and was more common among the higher educated, women, and experienced volunteers. These results suggest that volunteering might well decrease during disasters that affect the opportunities of potential volunteers contrasting the mobilizing role of disasters highlighted by earlier research.

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A Guide to the Canadian T3010 for Users of the U.S. Form 990

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This research note introduces nonprofit researchers accustomed to the U.S. Form 990 to the Canadian data captured on the T3010 financial form that will soon be available to researchers on a broad scale. Similar to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) T3010 is an annual information filing required of every Canadian charity that meets certain requirements. However, several elements in the data are unique to the Canadian context, while others are similar to the Form 990 but must be interpreted with attention to differences in definition and accounting practice that might otherwise complicate attempts at cross-national comparisons. Once these elements and the data’s limitations are understood, however, the forthcoming datasets will allow rich analysis for researchers and practitioners in areas that are yet unexplored with large data sources.

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