Tag Archives: nonprofit

Abiding by the Law? Using Benford’s Law to Examine the Accuracy of Nonprofit Financial Reports

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Benford’s Law asserts that the leading digit 1 appears more frequently than 9 in natural data. It has been widely used in forensic accounting and auditing to detect potential fraud, but its application to nonprofit data is limited. As the first academic study that applies Benford’s Law to U.S. nonprofit data (Form 990), we assess its usefulness in prioritizing suspicious filings for further investigation. We find close conformity with Benford’s Law for the whole sample, but at the individual organizational level, 34% of the organizations do not conform. Deviations from Benford’s law are smaller for organizations that are more professional, that report positive fundraising and administration expenses, and that face stronger funder oversight. We suggest improved statistical methods and experiment with a new measure of the extent of deviation from Benford’s Law that has promise as a more discriminating screening metric.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly | http://journals.sagepub.com/action/showFeed?ui=0&mi=ehikzz&ai=2b4&jc=nvsb&type=etoc&feed=rss  

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Pathways to Late-Life Volunteering: A Focus on Social Connectedness

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Utilizing a mixed-methods research design consisting of two consecutive phases, this study investigates older adults’ perceptions and understanding of social connectedness factors influencing late-life volunteering. In the first phase, quantitative data from the Belgian Ageing Studies project (N = 24,508, from 89 municipalities) was analyzed through regression modeling. In the second, qualitative phase, focus groups with older people were conducted in each of the six research locations, to elucidate and build on the quantitative results. The research findings indicate that formal connectedness is highly influential for both the potential to volunteer and actually doing so. Membership of an association and being a new resident are key determinants for volunteering in later life. Moreover, local policy also functions as an important bridge between long-term residents and new residents in terms of the social structure of the society and the extent to which people are integrated into the community.

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Philanthropic Entrepreneurs Who Give Overseas: An Exploratory Study of International Giving Through Grassroots Organizations

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. We examine a phenomenon which includes people who have had transformative experiences while abroad and traveling, and who have returned home to the United States and become philanthropic entrepreneurs: they start their own international nonprofit organizations. We set out to examine the motivations for giving to international causes through these nonprofits, called grassroots, international non-governmental organizations (GINGOs), which allow individuals to actualize their calling to serve distant places and causes. As an exploratory, qualitative inquiry, we build on recent survey and experiment data about motivations to international giving and donor choice. In particular, GINGO leaders as philanthropic entrepreneurs challenge two main deterrents related to international giving: trust and its influence on willingness to donate to international causes and the adage that “charity begins at home.” Our findings support suggestions in the literature that personal networks and word of mouth are important in donor choice and incentivizing giving to international causes.

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Does Hospital Status Affect Performance?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article investigates the impact of hospital profit status on quality of care as measured by risk-adjusted, 30-day, inpatient readmission rates gathered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It also evaluates the association between inpatient readmission rates and market concentration, measured by the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index, and various hospital characteristics. It concludes that nonprofit (NP) hospitals have a statistically significant negative association with readmission rates because they can focus on their mission without intense pressure to make a profit. We find no significant association between quality of care and hospital market competitiveness nor any statistically significant evidence to reject the exogeneity assumption of NP status.

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Constraints and Strategies to Scaling Up in Sport for Development and Peace Organizations: Evidence From the Field

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The purpose of this study was to explore and examine the constraints faced by managers as they attempt to scale up their sport for development and peace (SDP) organizations, and to identify the strategies they are employing to mitigate these constraints. Previous research has not examined constraints to scaling up in the SDP nonprofit space. Findings revealed three major themes related to challenges within four types of scaling up (quantitative, functional, political, organizational); skepticism about sport as a development tool, funding challenges leading to an entrepreneurial mind-set, and challenges associated with a general lack of business acumen among key leaders. Within each of these three themes, strategies for addressing these constraints are illuminated. These constraints and strategies are positioned within the broader nonprofit context, and theoretical and practical implications for scaling up SDP organizations are also explicated.

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Grantmaking Foundations’ Asset Management, Payout Rates, and Longevity Under Changing Market Conditions: Results From a Monte Carlo Simulation Study

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Today’s uncertain financial markets could affect foundations’ future grantmaking capacities. We review foundations’ financial decision-making patterns and their effect on foundations’ assets, longevity goals, and payouts. Using three fictional foundations with different longevity goals and grantmaking preferences, we demonstrate the delicate balance and tight nexus between asset management strategies, payout rates, and longevity. To do so, we perform stochastic Monte Carlo simulations of multiple foundation life cycles, conducted under diverse capital market scenarios. The findings suggest that foundations should (a) readjust their return expectations to today’s less favorable markets; (b) reduce their reliance on past portfolios’ investment returns or unique “success stories” in making decisions; (c) appreciate the strong interdependence between portfolio-mix, payout rates, and longevity; (d) consider effects of their particular mission/problem area on these parameters; and (e) use tailored projection analyses that simulate various investment strategies, payouts rates, and longevity to meet their grantmaking goals.

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What Does Innovation Mean to Nonprofit Practitioners? International Insights From Development and Peace-Building Nonprofits

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Charitable nonprofits strive to meet their organization’s goals, address external demands, and secure resources to pursue their missions. Management scholars have recommended that nonprofits promote innovation and innovative practices to maximize profits and gain a competitive advantage. However, the voices of nonprofit practitioners who implement this strategy have not been heard. We used data from interviews and focus groups with 47 practitioners representing development and peace-building nonprofits across six continents to probe what innovation means to them. Five themes emerged: (a) experimentation and social transformation, (b) financial sustainability, (c) collective solutions, (d) new means for achieving missions, and (e) adaptations to local contexts. These findings reveal discrepancies in the meaning of innovation between theory and practice. The findings from this study suggests innovation and innovative practices can have different meanings in different sectors. Perspectives on nonprofit innovation are multifaceted, yet the overarching emphasis is finding transformative ways to attain organizational goal(s) for social change.

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Understanding the Dissolution of Nonprofit Organizations: A Financial Management Perspective

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The financial antecedents of nonprofit dissolution have not been well studied, although there is growing scholarly attention devoted to the dissolution of nonprofit organizations. Using longitudinal data on U.S. public charities from 2005 to 2015, this study employs the Cox proportional-hazards model to examine the effects of overhead costs and revenue mix on nonprofit dissolution. In particular, we find that spending on employee compensation and fundraising each has a nonlinear, U-shaped relationship with the likelihood of nonprofit dissolution. We also find that commercial nonprofits are less likely to dissolve than their noncommercial counterparts. Finally, revenue diversification has a favorable effect on nonprofits’ survival prospects. These findings provide important managerial implications for nonprofits to sustain their operations and influence in practice.

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Fit Themes in Volunteering: How Do Volunteers Perceive Person–Environment Fit?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Worldwide, millions of people volunteer for nonprofit organizations. These organizations heavily depend on volunteers, such that successfully retaining them represents an indispensable task, as well as one that might benefit from the application of fit theory. The complex mechanisms that shape volunteers’ fit throughout their volunteering experiences in the nonprofit environment have been scarcely analyzed though, and fit research has only selectively assessed volunteer experiences. Therefore, the current study investigates how volunteers perceive person–environment fit using a qualitative research design that relies on narrative interviews. Eight service-related and daily-life–related fit themes emerge at the organizational, collaborational, individual, and external levels. These identified fit themes help clarify how volunteers relate distinctly to the environments established by the organizations for which they volunteer. In addition to extending research on volunteering experience, this qualitative analysis of perceived fit among volunteers enriches fit theory, by contextualizing the concept of fit for volunteers.

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Game of Loans: The Relationship Between Education Debt, Social Responsibility Concerns, and Making a Career Choice in the Public, Private, and Nonprofit Sectors

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The public and nonprofit sectors generally pay less than the private sector, and individuals are willing to forgo higher salaries in exchange for greater intrinsic satisfaction derived from making a contribution to society. However, personal financial considerations, such as education debt, may discourage individuals from pursuing careers in lower paying sectors even if they are predisposed to public service motivation (PSM). We surveyed a sample of graduating students to investigate if (a) education debt discourages students from pursuing lower paying public or nonprofit careers and (b) whether PSM overrides the considerations students might make about entering lower paying sectors as their education debt rises. First, we find that education debt has a marginal effect on initially selecting private over public and nonprofit careers. Rising education debt may discourage students from public sector careers after controlling for PSM. We also find that rising education debt may discourage students from nonprofit careers even with high levels of PSM. The present study enhances our understanding of how financial considerations, in the form of education debt, may influence a student’s initial choice in pursuing public, private, and nonprofit careers.

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Bringing Politics Back in Charitable Giving: Evidence From Donations After China’s Sichuan Earthquake

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Do non-Westerners donate differently? Drawing on a unique survey after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, this article reports some empirical findings about Chinese donation behavior. Our empirical analysis confirms the importance of various socioeconomic factors in charitable giving. What distinguishes the Chinese case from other societies is the role of politics. Political attitudes affect how people donate: Less trustful individuals and less dependent communities do not embrace state-centered charity enthusiastically. Our research expands the spatial coverage of the charity study that is dominated by experiences and practices from European and North American countries. To generate hypotheses about political attitudes, we develop a simple political model of charity. Placing politicians’ survival motivation at the center opens up new inquiries that are underexplored by current literature. It also inspires further research into comparative institutional designs of charity across national boundaries.

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Look to Others Before You Leap: A Systematic Literature Review of Social Information Effects on Donation Amounts

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. People are often influenced by information about other people’s behavior, that is, social information. Social information is frequently used by practitioners hoping to increase charitable giving, while the precise mechanisms through which social information works are unknown. We conducted a systematic literature review of 35 studies reporting on the effects of social information on charitable giving. We show that several studies report no or even negative effects and that a theoretical understanding of social information effects is lacking. We integrate the empirical findings in the wider fields of social psychology and behavioral economics and propose an integrative theoretical model. The model includes four mediators and three moderators that can explain positive and negative effects of social information. This theoretical framework can assist researchers to obtain a deeper understanding of social information and support practitioners in implementing giving tools in donation campaigns.

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Do You Like What You See? How Nonprofit Campaigns With Output, Outcome, and Impact Effectiveness Indicators Influence Charitable Behavior

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This study contributes to recent discussions on voluntary disclosure as a signaling approach among nonprofit organizations and its effects on stakeholders’ decision-making. Focusing on nonprofit program effectiveness, we test how nonprofit campaigns providing information on three effectiveness indicators—outputs, outcomes, and impacts (as part of the logic framework)—influence donation and lending behavior. An online survey experiment (N = 271) reveals that donors value outcome and impact indicators more than output information, without any differences between the two. Moreover, the three indicators have no statistical influences on lending behavior. We also consider the moderating role of reflective decision-making and find no influence on either donation or lending behavior.

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Facebooking Alone? Millennials’ Use of Social Network Sites and Volunteering

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The younger generation’s widespread use of online social network sites has raised concerns and debates about social network sites’ influence on this generation’s civic engagement, whether these sites undermine or promote prosocial behaviors. This study empirically examines how millennials’ social network site usage relates to volunteering, using the 2013 data of the Minnesota Adolescent Community Cohort Study. The findings reveal a positive association between a moderate level of Facebook use and volunteering, although heavy users are not more likely to volunteer than nonusers. This bell-shaped relationship between Facebook use and volunteering contrasts with the direct correlation between participation in off-line associational activities and volunteering. Overall, the findings suggest that it is natural to get mixed messages about social network sites’ impacts on civic engagement, and these platforms can be useful tools for getting the word out and recruiting episodic volunteers.

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Mission Change Over Time in U.S. Family Foundations

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. How much do foundations change their missions over time? Grant making emphases may shift due to the evolving preferences of trustees and directors, the changing needs of grant recipients, the location of the successor trustees, and so on. A countervailing force to this change is donor control. The founding donor’s stipulations and values figure prominently as legal and sentimental forces that could enhance mission permanence despite the passing of generations. This study first proposes a mission change theory framework designed for the long time span of endowed family foundations. Via changes in the stated location of the grant making and the field of the grants made (e.g., from grants for religious instruction to grants for arts), we then measure the revealed preferences of trustees and how their grant making practices change over the decades.

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International Volunteerism and Capacity Development in Nonprofit Organizations of the Global South

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Although international volunteerism has been a part of official development assistance for decades, the capacity development (CD) impacts of such programs in nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in the Global South have received scant attention. This article provides insights into the ways international volunteerism contributes to endogenous CD processes by analyzing survey and interview data collected from Australian volunteers and their host organizations in four countries. It shows that volunteers’ contributions can be usefully examined through the lens of Baser and Morgan’s framework of five core capabilities: to carry out tasks, to relate and attract support, to adapt and renew, to balance diversity and coherence, and to commit and engage. Although the voluntary nature of the relationship between host organization and volunteer can make CD impacts less predictable and controllable, it also affords time to explore and negotiate what contributions are most useful to an organization within a specific context.

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The Policies of Social Innovation: A Cross-National Analysis

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article deals with the policy discourse on social innovation at the European Union (EU) level as well as across nine European countries. We perform an exploratory analysis of relevant policy documents focusing on articulated policy authority, suggested actors, and key outcomes of social innovation. We also conduct an explanatory testing of the applicability of the varieties of capitalism as a traditional innovation classification system to social innovation. We find that the policy discourse across Europe lacks systemization and that EU agendas are only incompletely replicated at the individual country level. We also find that social innovation policies largely defy the principles governing traditional innovation policy regimes, which necessitates new or revised classification frames.

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Relational Work in the Struggle Against Poverty: Balancing Scholarly Critiques and Emancipatory Practices in the Nonprofit Sector

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Among antipoverty nonprofit organizations (NPOs), a significant shift back to “relational work” has been occurring. This form of human services connotes strong bonds and durable engagement with clients on major life changes. Critics have associated such efforts with paternalistic and disciplinary regimes reinforcing broader neoliberal trends. Perhaps now, with mounting pressures toward (narrow) professionalization among nonprofits, these illuminating critiques can usefully be paired with investigations doing justice to relational work’s beneficial inner workings and effects. Informed by years of immersion in NPOs and insights from “late” Foucault—ironically the central theoretical influence among critics of relational work—we show how and why researchers might approach even problematic aspects of this form of social action as unavoidable elements capable of contributing to the alleviation of poverty. The conclusion argues for pragmatic and multifaceted approaches to the study and management of antipoverty nonprofits balancing both the precariousness and promise of relational work.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly | http://journals.sagepub.com/action/showFeed?ui=0&mi=ehikzz&ai=2b4&jc=nvsb&type=etoc&feed=rss  

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The Multidimensional Benefits of University Student Volunteering: Psychological Contract, Expectations, and Outcomes

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Student volunteering has many benefits for students, universities, and nonprofit organizations (NPOs), but research on these from a multistakeholder perspective is scant. Using psychological contract theory, this article compares outcomes to expectations of students, universities, and NPOs, proposing a model of the benefits of volunteering to all three stakeholder groups. Based on a large-scale qualitative research with over 60 interviews in six Australian universities, the article offers an in-depth analysis of student volunteering benefits, surprises (benefits exceeding expectations), and disappointments (unmet expectations) for each stakeholder group. Some of these benefits align with existing literature, while others contribute new knowledge on the outcomes of student volunteering. The results show that training, preparation, and management of expectations have the potential to build positive benefits for all. It concludes with implications for universities and NPOs and directions for future research on student volunteering.

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