Are all nonprofits becoming more ‘business-like’?

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Ben Suykens, Filip De Rynck & Bram Verschuere, Ghent University

As previous posts on this blog demonstrate, recent nonprofit management research is preoccupied with the idea that nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are increasingly becoming ‘business-like’ by incorporating corporate norms, values and practices. Scholars are generally critical of this supposed trend, highlighting that NPOs may well gain resources, influence and the opportunity to deliver more services but at great cost to mission, values and voluntary contribution. Continue reading “Are all nonprofits becoming more ‘business-like’?”

Check Out this ‘Editor’s Choice’ Virtual Special Issue from NVSQ!

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Dear friends,

Happy 2020! As we embark on a new year, we—the editorial team of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly working closely with Sage—are proud to present to you this virtual special issue of Editors’ Choice. These fourteen (14) articles were published in various issues of NVSQ between January 2018 and December 2019. We have selected and curated them into this virtual collection to draw attention and provide ease of access to particularly distinctive, high-quality work in different genres. Some have already been highly-cited over the past two years (for example, the top-cited article on use of social media by nonprofit advocacy organizations by Guo and Saxton); others we expect will be widely read and used to inform new research, but may not yet have high citations because they were published more recently.

Here is a link to the Virtual Special Issue:

https://journals.sagepub.com/topic/collections-nvs/nvs-1-editors_choice/nvs

As a collection, these articles showcase the diversity of topics as well as the conceptual and methodological innovations that characterize NVSQ. The topics cover accountability and governance, revenue diversification, cross-sector partnerships, giving and volunteering, civil engagement, policy advocacy and social entrepreneurship. This collection is also broadly international, as is every issue of the journal. We hope you find this special collection of articles interesting, relevant, and inspiring.

The articles will be open for free download for the next two weeks. Enjoy!

The NVSQ Editorial Team”

Nonprofit Pay in a Competitive Market: Wage Penalty or Premium?

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Christian King, University of Central Florida & Gregory B. Lewis, Georgia State University

Do nonprofit organizations overpay or underpay their employees? One theory argues that employees choose to accept below-market pay so that they can do meaningful work for organizations whose missions they believe in. Nonprofits might even intentionally underpay workers so that only highly motivated people will apply.

An opposing theory argues that nonprofits overpay because they have fewer incentives to hold down wages. Nonprofits have tax advantages that private firms do not, meaning that they can create surpluses more easily, and they cannot give any “profits” to owners. Instead, they can share those surpluses with other stakeholders – with customers (through lower costs or higher quality services) and with employees (through higher wages).

We test these theories by examining the pay – and pay differences by race, gender, and sexual orientation – among registered nurses working for nonprofit, for-profit, and public hospitals. Continue reading “Nonprofit Pay in a Competitive Market: Wage Penalty or Premium?”

Can Philanthropy be Taught?

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Lindsey M. McDougle, Rutgers University; Danielle McDonald, Northern Kentucky University; Huafang Li, Grand Valley State University; Whitney McIntyre Miller, Chapman University; Chengxin Xu, Rutgers University.

Experiential philanthropy is an innovative teaching and learning approach that allows students to study social problems and then invest funds into nonprofit organizations that they consider to be best able to solve the social problems they learn about. Experiential philanthropy has become widespread within higher education and many within the field have begun recognizing its potential for developing future philanthropists. Despite this potential, there has been little evidence of the effectiveness of experiential philanthropy on students—or, communities. Therefore, we conducted a study to explore learning and development outcomes associated with the use of experiential philanthropy in the college classroom, and to ultimately answer the question: Can philanthropy be taught? Continue reading “Can Philanthropy be Taught?”

Children, Giving and Volunteering

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Christopher Einolf, Northern Illinois University and NVSQ author

When my daughter was born twelve years ago, my whole life changed overnight: gone were the days of slowly cooked meals, relaxing on Saturday afternoons, and going out at every weekend with friends. Time became very scarce, with long sleepless nights, loads of laundry, cooking and cleaning. Just getting to work on time was a challenge; doing things outside of work seemed impossible. Expenses went up too, with doctor bills, baby furniture, clothes, and car seats.

A new baby is a wonderful thing, but a new baby places huge demands on parents’ resources of money and time. How does the arrival of a baby affect a parent’s charitable giving and volunteering? And what happens when the baby grows older – does parents’ giving and volunteering change again? These questions were the subject of my recent NVSQ article, “Parents’ charitable giving and volunteering: Are they influenced by their children’s ages and life transitions? Evidence from a longitudinal study in the United States.” Continue reading “Children, Giving and Volunteering”

Rigour or relevance in philanthropy research? Choose both!

Tracey Coule, Research-to-Practice Editor, NVSQ.

1200px-UCB_Campanile‘Ivory tower academics have nothing useful to offer practitioners’. As a former non-profit practitioner-turned-academic responsible for running a professional doctorate, delivering management education, undertaking client-driven, applied research projects, and publishing research papers, I have often heard this charge from practitioners. Equally, I have heard academic colleagues refer to applied, client-commissioned research as the ‘poor relation’, ‘ugly sister’ or even not ‘proper’ research because it ‘lacks rigour’ and ‘can’t possibly produce high quality, publishable research’.

In this short piece, I would like to at least begin challenging both sets of assumptions by making three arguments. First, the rigour versus relevance debate is a fallacy. Second, the real issue (and solution) is one of language or, rather, translation. Third, it will take shared commitment and collective action to undertake such translation work and bridge the gap between academic, policy, and practice communities. Continue reading “Rigour or relevance in philanthropy research? Choose both!”

Behind the scenes of “Nonprofit Organizations Becoming Business-Like”

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Florentine Maier, Michael Meyer and Martin Steinbereithner, Vienna University of Economics and Business and NVSQ authors.

Our systematic literature review on Nonprofit Organizations Becoming Business-Like is an extremely dense piece of writing. We condensed the essence of 599 research publications into 8000 words. Under no circumstances can we distill it any further into a 600 word blogpost! What we want to do here, instead, is tell about the reasons why we wrote it, and provide some guidance on how to read it.

The article was inspired by the adage “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”: for over two years we had been trying to get research funding to conduct empirical research on the consequences of business-like forms of nonprofit organizing, as opposed to possible alternative forms. After three unsuccessful grant applications, each faltering because reviewers criticized us for not having covered the state of research sufficiently, we came to the conclusion that there apparently was no consensus on what actually constituted the relevant field of research. We had extensively read on the issue of NPOs becoming business-like, books piling up on our desks, folders bursting with printouts, our EndNote file getting bigger and bigger, and still reviewers pointing out this or that article that they considered as crucial and that we had failed to cite in our grant applications. Continue reading “Behind the scenes of “Nonprofit Organizations Becoming Business-Like””