Tag Archives: volunteer

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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Volunteering and Leisure Activity in the United Kingdom: A Longitudinal Analysis of Males and Females

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Theory recognizes the need to account for the allocation of time across activities as a potential constraint on volunteering. Drawing on the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), for the first time, this article examines the decision to volunteer by males and females accounting for their engagement in other leisure activities that also involve discretionary time. Instrumental variable panel-data estimates reveal that it is only for females that volunteering is influenced by the choice of other leisure activities. This implies that males have more autonomy over their volunteering decision relative to their other leisure behavior compared with females. For males, this greater autonomy suggests that volunteering is more closely linked to the concept of “serious leisure” and a form of work as it is more distinct from other leisure activities. These differences have implications for volunteer recruitment.

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Understanding the Effect of Central Government Funding on the Service and Advocacy Roles of Nonprofit Organizations in China: A Cross-Regional Comparison

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This research examines the effects of government funding on the service and advocacy roles of nonprofit organizations in China through a cross-regional comparison. Based on a nationwide survey of 2,058 nonprofits and in-depth interviews with 65 nonprofit executives from the same sample in 2013–2017, we find that a higher level of central government funding leads to stronger organizational capacity for service provision through leveraging matching funds and to more intensive administrative advocacy and media advocacy. Furthermore, a cross-regional comparison shows that, in contrast to those in nonwestern regions, nonprofit organizations with higher levels of central government funding in the western region engage in more administrative advocacy but less in media advocacy. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of the government’s leverage strategy and selective empowerment in shaping nonprofits’ service and advocacy roles through government funding in China.

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Assessing the Role of Ethnic Enclaves and Neighborhood Conditions in Volunteering Among Latinos in Chicago

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Neighborhoods may be important for formal volunteering because they vary in the extent to which they have institutions that support participation and problems that motivate participation. According to social heterogeneity and ethnic community theories, we should expect that living in ethnic enclaves, neighborhoods where residents are predominantly of the same ethnic group, would promote formal volunteering. Latino ethnic enclaves may also have more institutions and problems. However, no studies have examined neighborhood effects on formal volunteering among U.S.- and foreign-born Latinos. We investigated neighborhood-level predictors of formal volunteering among Latinos, and Mexican descent residents more specifically, using secondary data from Chicago, a Latino immigrant destination. We tested the effects of ethnic enclaves, neighborhood organizational resources, and neighborhood needs on formal volunteering. We found that Latinos in Chicago were less likely to participate in formal volunteering in ethnic enclaves when controlling for enclaves’ greater neighborhood needs, which positively influenced formal volunteering.

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Developing and Validating a Capacity Instrument for Chinese and U.S. NGOs

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Capacity-building initiatives are popular among nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) worldwide. In response to a lack of valid and reliable capacity measures for NGOs working on various social issues, Shumate and colleagues developed an 8-dimension, 45-item NGO capacities instrument, based on data from U.S. NGOs. However, the proliferation of international research on NGO capacity raises questions about the degree to which such an instrument equally applies in other countries. To allow meaningful comparisons of NGO capacities across countries, we examine the measurement equivalence of this NGO capacity instrument across a matched sample of Chinese (N = 119) and U.S. (N = 150) NGOs. Findings suggest a new NGO capacity instrument, which comprises seven factors and 28 items and better accounts for the capacity of both Chinese and U.S. NGOs. Based on the new instrument, a series of comparative analyses highlight the influence of institutional factors on NGO capacities.

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Smoking Households Give Less to Charity

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. This study had two aims: (a) to assess, among households in the United States, the association between spending money on cigarettes and participation in charitable giving, and between spending money on cigarettes and amount spent on charitable giving, and (b) to assess whether the association between smoking and charitable giving is mediated by religiosity, social capital, cognitive aptitude, and happiness. To address these aims, we used data from Consumer Expenditure Interview Survey and Midlife in the United States Survey. The analyses revealed that households that spend money on cigarettes are less likely to participate in charitable giving. Furthermore, among households who do give to charity, smoking households give a lesser amount than others do. Religiosity, social capital, cognitive aptitude, and happiness do not appear to mediate the relationship between smoking and charitable giving.

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Regulation as Political Control: China’s First Charity Law and Its Implications for Civil Society

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. With the passage of a nationwide Charity Law in March 2016, Chinese nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) entered a new and unprecedented era of legal regulation, one that dramatically transformed the formal rules governing state–civil society relations. This article highlights problems experienced under earlier regulations and outlines the major features of the new law. Drawing on multiple focus groups and interviews with grassroots NGOs around China, the article highlights gaps between NGO leaders’ understandings of their work and several of the law’s key provisions, revealing civil society’s skepticism and pessimism about prospects for change. It concludes by considering the law’s likely implications for civil society development in China and lessons for other authoritarian states, suggesting that regulation in such regimes should be seen more properly as a tool of political control.

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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.

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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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