Tag Archives: volunteer

A Review of Sexual Harassment Prevention Practices: Toward a Nonprofit Research Agenda

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Sexual harassment has garnered renewed attention with a wave of allegations against high profile men, including nonprofit executives. Given its legal, organizational, and ethical implications for nonprofit organizations and the sector, it is imperative that nonprofits take steps to prevent sexual harassment. Because there is limited research on sexual harassment in the nonprofit literature, we know little about what nonprofits are doing, or what they should be doing. This research note uses qualitative analysis to explore the anti-harassment practices recommended to nonprofit practitioners and compares these practices to academic research to develop a nonprofit scholarly research agenda. We identify a series of important questions nonprofit scholars could pursue to improve our knowledge of the issue and contribute to both research and practice.

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Donor Identity, Morality, and Nonprofit Organizations: Soliciting Donations and Recruiting Volunteers for the Red Cross, 1863–1919

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Recent literature has highlighted the central role that donor identity, the perception of oneself as a giving person, plays in fundraising. In this, nonprofit organizations develop strategies to encourage a generous self-perception among potential donors and volunteers to elicit donations. However, existing literature has not yet examined the cultural repertoires that organizations develop to portray convincing representations of donor identity to their donor and volunteer base. This article argues that nonprofit organizations draw on broad, culturally defined notions of the moral good to create idealized depictions of a donor identity. To demonstrate, the article looks at the early decades of the Red Cross movement. It shows that the movement developed four different logics to depict romanticized notions of donors and volunteers, each based on a different idea of the social good. The article argues that such meaning-making is a key aspect of nonprofit organizations’ work.

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Critical Applications of Heterogeneity Theories to Power in Nonprofit Human Services Organizations

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The field of nonprofit studies often assumes that efforts of actors in the nonprofit landscape are beneficial, especially when considering nonprofit human service organizations. However, there are both theoretical and empirical reasons for scholars to adopt a more critical lens when examining these organizations. Taking nonprofit human services organizations as a common setting, the article uses a critical lens to apply classic, “mainstream” theories of the role of heterogeneity in nonprofit sector formation and illuminate risks often neglected in nonprofit human services research. In this way, the article demonstrates that classic social science theories of heterogeneity already offer us the tools we need to critically question dominant assumptions about nonprofit human services provision and challenges the reader to consider why we so rarely use these well-known theoretical frameworks in a critical manner. The article concludes by inviting scholars to utilize additional critical theoretical perspectives in future studies of nonprofit human services.

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Portrayals of Volunteering on U.S. Television: A Textual Analysis

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Volunteer managers identify challenging tasks, such as volunteer buy-in, retention, and role matching. Successful management of these tasks is influenced by how volunteers anticipate and perceive their volunteer experience. Volunteers receive and interpret messages about the drivers, rules, and expectations of giving one’s time and expertise from what they observe in the media. Television portrays how society perceives volunteering and compulsory community service. We used textual analysis to interpret portrayals of volunteering in 104 storylines on U.S. television. Television characters portrayed as volunteers were primarily motivated by civic duty, committed on a short-term basis, and had a positive experience. The volunteer manager was often absent. The intended beneficiary need not be present because the volunteer was the ultimate beneficiary. The storylines on TV excluded important components of the volunteer experience, meaning volunteer managers may need to take steps to mitigate problems associated with unrealized expectations of the TV binge-watching volunteers.

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Mirroring Empowerment: Exploring Structural Barriers to Volunteer Motivation Fulfillment in an All-Female Youth Sport Program

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This study utilizes structuration theory to reveal how volunteer coaches in an all-female youth sport program describe barriers and agency to their organizational mission of athlete empowerment. The dataset in this ethnographic case study comes from volunteer coaching experiences within two youth sport teams. Ethnographic data included field notes from four volunteer coaches, collaborative interviews, archival organizational documents, as well as athlete and parent interviews. A qualitative analysis, informed by structuration theory, revealed specific legitimate, dominant, and symbolic structures that enabled and constrained volunteer and youth athlete empowerment within the teams. The analysis also revealed a process of mirroring empowerment, a novel theoretical concept, which describes how athletes reflected back their own empowerment to empower volunteer coaches. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.

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Informal Volunteering, Inequality, and Illegitimacy

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article argues that informal volunteering (the unstructured giving of one’s time to help friends, neighbors, or community) has been ignored or understudied within research and policy. With data frequently showing higher rates of informal volunteering among women, people of color, working-class communities, and other often discriminated against groups and qualitative research demonstrating the value of informal volunteering within poorer communities, such positioning serves to reproduce dominant narratives around volunteering, reinforcing social inequalities. Using Bourdieusian critical theory from largely U.K.-based working-class feminist scholars, this article contributes to the nonprofit literature by showing how such a formulation adds to the legitimacy of middle-class cultures and delegitimizes working-class ones, especially at the current neoliberal conjuncture where volunteering experiences are encouraged to be used as a tool of distinction and employability. However, the article cautions against conceptualizing informal volunteering within existing formal volunteering frameworks, as doing so may further hollow out community life.

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Designing Social Media Fundraising Messages: An Experimental Approach to Understanding How Message Concreteness and Framing Influence Donation Intentions

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This experiment examined the effects of fundraising message characteristics on donation intentions through a simulated social media campaign. A 2 (abstract vs. concrete message) × 2 (gain vs. loss framing) between-subjects experiment (n = 213) revealed that a message with detailed fundraising outcomes elicited a greater intention to donate through heightened perceived message credibility, perceived transparency, cognitive elaboration, and empathy. Gain and loss framing, however, did not result in significant differences in donation intentions. Theoretically, this study uncovered the psychological mechanisms through which message concreteness increases donation intentions. Practically, results of this study provided implications for drafting effective fundraising messages that can be disseminated on social media.

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“Where My Gays At?” The Status of LGBTQ People and Queer Theory in Nonprofit Research

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This article critically examines academic scholarship in the field of nonprofit studies that pertains to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and issues. We introduce the key tenets of queer theory, a critical theory which encourages questioning social constructs, to nonprofit studies as a lens through which to examine the nonprofit sector. Using a queer approach, we analyze the past research on LGBTQ issues along the continuums of whether the research subjects are active or passive participants, and whether the focus on LGBTQ issues is ancillary or central. We find a minority of articles, most written between 2015 and 2019, which position LGBTQ people as central and active participants in the research. We conclude by providing a research agenda for how queer theory can be applied to the nonprofit sector and argue that placing LGBTQ people and organizations as central constituencies in nonprofit research will facilitate social change.

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Book Review: The business of changing the world: How billionaires, tech disrupters, and social entrepreneurs are transforming the global aid industry by Kumar, R. and The enlightened capitalists: Cautionary tales of business pioneers who tried to do well by doing good by O’Toole, J

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print.

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Half a Century of NVSQ: Thematic Stability Across Years and Editors

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The aim of this article is to understand how the scholarship of the nonprofit sector shifted after almost half a century (1972–2019) of publication in the field’s premier journal, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Unlike previous attempts to understand the field’s scholarly evolution, we did not rely on expert opinion and analysis of themes but applied an automated content analytic method, more specifically structural topic modeling (STM). Using this method, we identified 37 key thematic topics that most optimally represent the 1,516 articles that were published in the studied period. After reporting these 37 thematic topics, we analyzed fluctuations based on three key periods of the journal and the editors’ disciplinary fields. While overall there was a trend of continuity (29 out of 37 topics) and little if any impact of the editors’ disciplines, a few thematic topics showed decline and fewer showed increase over time.

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Perception of Internal Controls Helps Explain Whistleblowing

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The nonprofit sector may suffer financially from inconsistency in regulations and polices surrounding internal control implementation. To address this issue, our study explores how perceived internal control strength differs between nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Furthermore, we examine three components of the Committee of Sponsoring Organization framework to determine which components might significantly influence whistleblowing for nonprofit organizations. As expected, all three components appear to significantly influence whistleblowing for those in for-profit organizations. For those in nonprofit organizations, the perception of control activities and monitoring activities significantly mediates the relationship between organization type and whistleblowing intentions. Finally, the data indicate that the use of an anonymous website for whistleblowing at a nonprofit organization may require added attention and resources if employees at nonprofits are to use this outlet to the same extent as it is used at a for-profit organization.

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Why Is Human Milk Donation Absent From the Literature on Philanthropic Giving? The Invisible Female Donor and Her Invisible Gift

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In this research note, we call attention to human milk donation being essentially omitted from the philanthropy literature and bodily gifting research. We focus here on human milk donations for infant feeding through nonprofit milk banks. We argue that its omission is due to two main factors: (a) the incoherence of defining human milk donation and the challenges to its regulation and (b) its consideration as care work and the characteristics of the milk donor identity. We end with avenues for future research in this area.

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Growing Up Nonprofit: Predictors of Early-Stage Nonprofit Formalization

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The nonprofit organizational life cycle literature has traditionally focused on the entry and exit processes; the intermediate organizational life stages between these bookends have received less attention. Almost half of all nonprofits at any given time operate in an early life stage with less than US$100,000 in revenue, minimal overhead spending, and no paid managers. This study examines the process by which nonprofits leave the small, informal, startup phase and begin the next life stage characterized by growth and formalization. We identify financial and organizational characteristics that predict whether the nonprofit will successfully transition out of the early and informal life stage. We find that investments in professional fundraising and access to government funds are predictive of the transition out of the start-up phase, while traditional financial predictors such as revenue concentration, equity ratio, fixed cost ratios, and the accumulation of unrestricted assets have modest to no effects.

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Disaggregating the Effects of Inequality on Informal Giving: Evidence From Pakistan

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. In this article, we outline the determinants of informal charitable giving and the link between giving and inequality. Arguing that inequality encompasses at least two competing effects—distrust and observed need for donations—we use a novel proxy to separate out the effect of the latter from the former on household’s magnitude of informal giving. Using data from the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy’s 2014 Indigenous Individual Philanthropy Survey, we find that informal giving in Pakistan follows patterns like those observed in the literature for formal giving. We also find evidence for a positive relationship between observed need and the magnitude of person-to-person giving. Controlling for observed need, we find that the residual correlation between inequality and giving is negative, one explanation of which may be the positive link between inequality and decreased social cohesion and trust.

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Donations and the Overhead Ratio Are Related Even When Donors Do Not Bother About Efficiency

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Empirical research on donor behavior infers from donations being negatively related to overhead ratios (or indicators based on these ratios) that donors give more to more “efficient” organizations. This relation is proved to be at least partly driven by a purely mechanical link between donations and overhead ratios, which therefore should be isolated when studying empirically the behavioral effect of overhead ratio–based indicators on donors’ giving decisions.

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Serving the Vulnerable While Being Vulnerable: Organizing Resilience in a Social Welfare Sector

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The interplay between formal organizing structures and the informal social networks of employees and organizations furthers the resilience of nonprofit organizations that serve the community. This case study draws on qualitative multi-pronged data collected in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey from two faith networks of social welfare organizations serving the vulnerable in Houston, Texas. Results show that hybrid organizing of formal structures and informal networks contributes to organizational and community resilience. By examining both forms of organizing, this article shows how formal structures offer foundational support to the more informal and nimble social networks across the interorganizational partnerships that support the community. As such, this study extends the process orientation toward resilience by documenting how individuals, organizations, and networks expand organizational internal capacities through disaster relief efforts enacted across levels (employee–organization–community).

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Benefit-Based Revenue Streams and Financial Health: The Case of Arts and Cultural Nonprofits

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. A large number of empirical studies have discussed the revenue diversification strategy for nonprofits, but little attention has been paid to the components of revenue portfolios, even though each revenue source flows into a nonprofit with its own characteristics. Drawing on Young’s benefits theory, this study tests the proposition that a nonprofit would be stronger financially if its income portfolio reflected the mix of benefits it provides. We find evidence that the benefit-based revenue strategy is associated with better financial outcomes using the data set from DataArts (2008–2016). Yet, this relationship is not linear, and the positive relationship is seen only when the share of benefit-based revenues is above a certain threshold. A detailed examination reveals that the benefit-based revenue strategy should be employed judiciously, depending on each organization’s own capacity. We discuss the ways nonprofits can employ benefit-based financing while diversifying revenue streams.

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Understanding the Donor-Advised Fund Giving Process: Insights From Current DAF Users

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. The growing use of donor-advised funds (DAFs) is changing the way many donors give to charity. Despite the increasing influence and importance of DAFs in the nonprofit sector, very little is known about how people actually use them. We conducted 48 in-depth interviews with DAF users, collecting rich qualitative data about why and how donors use DAFs. We use these data to sketch a DAF giving process with four phases and multiple decision points. We highlight some of the common donor strategies that are used with DAFs. Overall, we present evidence of abundant diversity in individual adaptation for giving through DAFs.

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