Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

Published by SAGE

Online ISSN: 1552-7395


Print ISSN: 0899-7640


Figure 1 Framework for Board Composition and Roles  
Table 3 Model that Examines Board Independence
Table 4 (continued)
Table 5 (continued)
Determinants of Nonprofit Board Size and Composition The Case of Spanish Foundations
  • Article

October 2009


379 Reads

Pablo de Andrés Alonso



Recently, many empirical studies have shed light on the determinants of boards of directors. Our aim in this paper goes far from the corporate setting. We explain how nonprofits boards are structured. As opposed to corporations’ goals, the objectives of nonprofits are non-lucrative. They can not disburse profits to their contributors, but the role played by their boards of trustees in monitoring and advising managers is analogous to that of boards of directors. Using a sample of Spanish foundations, we show that nonprofit board determinants, such as organizational complexity and financing structure, are mostly similar to those of corporate boards. Nonprofit age, however, illustrates the different nature of these organizations and their voluntary boards.

The Supply of Volunteer Work: The Case of Canada

January 1984


24 Reads

Ce Texte Examine Comment les Benefices et les Couts, Representes Par des Caracteristiques Individuelles Telles la Scolarite, L'age Ou le Statut Marital, Associes Avec le Travail Volontaire Explique Qu'un Individu En Fasse Ou Non. les Previsions Tirees du Cadre Analytique Sont Confrontees et Supportees Par des Resultats Obtenus En Utilisant les Donnees D'une Enquete Fait En 1980 a la Grandeur du Canada. les Resultats Nous Indiquent Que les Individus Dont les Familles Ou les Carrieres Sont Susceptibles de Beneficier du Travail Volontaire En Font Plus Que les Autres.

The Effects of Volunteering for Nonprofit Organizations on Social Capital Formation: Evidence from a Statewide Survey
  • Article
  • Full-text available

September 2004


278 Reads

As membership in traditional civic organizations declines in the United States (Putnam, 2000), could volunteering for nonprofit organizations be an alternative source of social capital formation? We use an updated household production framework (Becker, 1996) to theoretically connect volunteering with two forms of social capital: social connections and civic capacity. Using a unique statewide data set from Vermont, we then use the Cragg (1971) model to estimate the determinants of the probability of receiving a social capital benefit, and the level of such a benefit. We first show that the probability of receiving a social connection or a civic capacity benefit from one's most important nonprofit organization is increased: (a) if it is a religious or social service organization; (b) if one increases their volunteering for the organizations; and (c) if one is female, college educated or in a two-parent family. However, the relative magnitude of volunteering is similar, or relatively small, compared to the other significant determinants. We then show that an increase of volunteer hours does increase the levels of social connection and civic capacity, but the magnitude of this effect is also relatively small.

Volunteers and Their Communities: A Comparative Analysis of Volunteer Fire Fighters

September 1992


45 Reads

This article explores the multijaceted relationship between volunteer fire companies and their communities by examining a broad range of socioeconomic characteristics of volunteer fire fighters and general residents in rural New York State. The two data sets are generated by the author's survey instrument and the U.S. Census of Population and Housing. The personal attributes and their statistical significance are examined empirically, and the implications of this research for particular aspects of the fire fighters' relationship to their fellow citizens arc discussed.

Factors Explaining the Rating of Microfinance Institutions

January 2006


122 Reads

The growing relevance of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) has provoked the development of specialized MFI rating agencies that perform global risk assessments. In this paper we have conjectured different hypotheses pertaining to the relationship between financial indicators and the rating assigned. The hypotheses have been empirically tested, using MFIs accounting information and ratings from a leading agency. As expected, the larger, the more profitable, the more productive, and the less risky, achieved the better rating. This proves the usefulness of MFIs ratings for providers of funds. There is no observed relationship between social performance and rating. Given the social aim of MFIs, it is necessary to encourage rating agencies to engage in the development of social ratings. These social ratings should complement financial ratings, giving information about the accomplishment degree of the MFI social goals.

Historical Roots of the Nonprofit Sector in France

July 2001


193 Reads

Though deeply rooted in the Middle Ages, as in every European Country, the French nonprofit sector differs in that it was secularized and restricted at the beginning of the 19th century by the centralized state. According to a tradition dating back to the 1789 Revolution, the state had the monopoly of public interest concerns. This tradition gradually lost force in the twentieth century, and nonprofit organizations multiplied during the last three decades in every field of public interest. This trend was encouraged by the central and local governments in a period of decentralization and European integration. Decentralization offers a great opportunity for the French nonprofit sector; conversely, nonprofit organizations provide collective services in an alternative way and can offer an antidote to latent centralization tendencies.

Figure 1 
Table 1 Paired Comparisons
Table 2 Regression Results
Persuasion in Fundraising Letters: An Interdisciplinary Study

January 2008


3,497 Reads

In this paper, we report experimental evidence on the effectiveness of several techniques of persuasion commonly utilized in direct-mail solicitation. The study is built on theory-based, descriptive models of fundraising discourse and on comparisons of recommended and actual practices related to three dimensions of persuasion: rhetorical, visual, and linguistic. The specific rhetorical variable included is persuasive appeal (rational, credibility, or affective). The visual variable selected for the study is the presence or absence of bulleted lists, and the linguistic variable included is readability, or the complexity of exposition. Subjects were presented with pairs of fictive direct-mail appeals from imaginary universities that differ in these dimensions and asked to allocate a hypothetical $100 across each pair. Results suggest that letters utilizing credibility appeals and letters written at a high level of readability produce the highest donations.

Workplace Attitudes, Experiences, and Job Satisfaction of Social Work Administrators in Nonprofit and Public Agencies: 1981 and 1989

March 1996


31 Reads

This article profiles workplace attitudes, experiences, and job satisfaction of social work administrators employed in nonprofit and public agencies during the dramatic social service changes of the 1980s. Secondary analysis of national, cross-sectional surveys of National Association of Social Work members in 1981 and 1989 reveal changes over time and by nonprofit versus public agency auspices regarding sense of professional competencies, working conditions, job stressors, and sense of professional support. Job satisfaction of managers in both sectors is significantly predicted in a multiple regression by a sense of challenge, promotion opportunities, and lack of value conflict in the work they do. The findings also reveal greater concrete rewards but declining promotion opportunities among the nonprofit administrators and a greater sense of challenge but declining income among public agency administrators. The findings suggest several directions for social work education and management training. Peer Reviewed

Accountability Online: Understanding the Web-Based Accountability Practices of Nonprofit Organizations

July 2009


6,129 Reads

Nonprofit organizations are increasingly using Internet-based technologies to address accountability. This article presents a set of conceptual, theoretical, and empirical innovations to help understand this phenomenon. First, this article presents a conceptual framework that delineates two key dimensions of Web-based accountability practices: disclosure and dialogue. It then posits a four-factor explanatory model of online accountability incorporating organizational strategy, capacity, governance, and environment. Last, it tests the model through a content analysis of 117 U.S. community foundation Web sites combined with survey and financial data. The descriptive statistics show that the Web site has been more effectively used to provide financial and performance disclosures than to provide dialogic mechanisms for stakeholder input and interactive engagement. Our multivariate analyses, in turn, highlight capacity- and governance-related variables, especially asset size and board performance, as the most significant factors associated with the adoption of Web-based accountability practices.

Accountability of Transnational NGOs: Aspirations vs. Practice

November 2012


709 Reads

NGOs working across borders face increased accountability demands. While many have proposed ways of changing accountability practices, the debate is rarely informed by leaders’ perspectives of how accountability is perceived and practiced across different organizational settings. In interviews with NGO leaders we find aspirations to make accountability more meaningful and integrated, in particular by listening more to stakeholders other than donors. But these aspirations are rarely put in practice and leaders continue to highlight traditional means such as financial accounting. This gap is particularly pronounced for smaller organizations and reflects an increasingly competitive environment shaped by rating agencies and a focus on financial metrics. In order to move from aspirations to practice, NGOs have to be willing to share more meaningful information about their work and outcomes with stakeholders. Practicing transparency that empowers beneficiaries is central to effective organizational learning and balancing demands from different stakeholders.

The Promise and Limits of Collective Action for Nonprofit Self-Regulation: Evidence From Asia

February 2008


56 Reads

Self-regulation is an increasing mandate in American nonprofit life, but the new focus on self-regulation is not limited to the United States. Nonprofit self-regulation is expanding rapidly in Asia as an expression of collective action to defend against encroaching and increasing state pressures; to strengthen the quality of sectoral governance, services, financial management, and fundraising; to improve public, corporate, media, and other perceptions of nonprofits and charities; to organize an unruly sphere and marginalize lower quality actors or other outliers; to access governmental or donor funding; to act as a market mechanism to exclude competitive or unproductive actors for the benefit of remaining players or to marginalize organizations causing reputational damage to the sector; as a learning opportunity for nonprofits and their networks; and as a means to clarify and strengthen shared identity. This article analyzes the rapid development and forms of nonprofit self-regulation in Cambodia, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines and the motivations behind this rapid growth.

Table 1 . Identity Dimensions
Volunteering Versus Managerialism: Conflict Over Organizational Identity in Voluntary Associations

June 2010


802 Reads

This qualitative field study examines how volunteering and managerialism shape the organizational identity of six patient organizations from six different European countries. Volunteers represent a large part of the workforce in most voluntary associations. Even though the phenomenon of volunteering is becoming more and more important for organizations and society alike, so far it has only been studied at the individual level. The authors draw on the theoretical concept of dual organizational identities to describe the two differing collective self-descriptions that were present in the patient organizations. Drawing on 34 narrative interviews and focus groups, the authors document the differing perceptions of volunteers and paid staff about their organization's identity and show how the conflicting dimensions-volunteer identity and managerial identity-result in intraorganizational conflict.

Charitable Estate Planning as Visualized Autobiography: An fMRI Study of Its Neural Correlates

February 2012


251 Reads

This first ever functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of charitable bequest decision-making found increased activation in the precuneus and lingual gyrus of the brain compared to charitable giving and volunteering decisions. Greater lingual gyrus activation was also associated with increased propensity to make a charitable bequest. Previous studies have shown that activation of these brain regions is related to taking an outside perspective of one’s self, recalling the recent death of a loved one, and recalling vivid autobiographical memories across one’s life. We propose that bequest decision-making is analogous to visualizing the final chapter in one’s autobiography and that fundraisers may do well to emphasize donors’ autobiographical connections with the charity. Due to inherent mortality salience, people may resist creating this final chapter, but once engaged may seek to leave an enduring legacy.

Table 1 Mean and Standard Deviation for Independent Variables
Table 2 Multivariate Logistic Regression of 2005 Volunteering on 1995 Characteristics (Silent Cohort)
Table 3 Comparison Between Silent and Boomer Cohorts of Logistic Odds Ratios and Statistical Significance of Predictors of Current Volunteering
Will the Boomers Volunteer During Retirement? Comparing the Baby Boom, Silent, and Long Civic Cohorts

February 2008


274 Reads

Data from the 1995 and 2005 waves of the Midlife in the United States panel study were used to compare rates of volunteering among the baby boomers with earlier cohorts and to predict boomers’ future volunteering. When age was kept constant through the use of panel data, the first baby boom cohort (born 1946 to 1955) did more volunteering than did the “silent” cohort (born 1936 to 1945), and the silents volunteered more than did the “long civic” cohort (born 1926 to 1935). The author generated regression equations that used nine 1995 variables to predict 2005 volunteering and used the boomers’ 2005 values on these variables to predict their 2015 volunteering. These equations slightly predict higher volunteering among the boomers in 2015 than the silents did in 2005. This result, combined with the large size of the boomer cohort, indicates that the total number of elderly volunteers will probably increase in the next decade.

Valuing Volunteers: An Economic Evaluation of the Net Benefits of Hospital Volunteers

March 2004


513 Reads

The use of volunteers in hospitals has been an age-old practice. This nonmarket community involvement is a distinctive aspect of North American life. Hospitals may be attracted to increase the use of volunteers, both to provide increased quality of care and to contain costs. Hospitals rely on the use of professional administrators to use the donated time of volunteers efficiently. This study examines the benefits and costs of volunteer programs and derives an estimate of the net value of volunteer programs that accrue to the hospitals and volunteers. In particular, the costs and benefits to hospitals are detailed. Using 31 hospitals in and around Toronto and surveying hospital volunteer administrators, hospital clinical staff members, and volunteers themselves, a striking pay-off for hospitals was found: an average of $6.84 in value from volunteers for every dollar spent—a return on investment of 684%. Civic and community participation is indeed valuable.

Beyond Nonprofit Management Education: Leadership Development in a Time of Blurred Boundaries and Distributed Learning

September 2007


351 Reads

This article argues that three broad trends—changes in nonprofit organizations, changes in the ways they are led, and changes in the available technologies of learning—combine to challenge the long-term viability of discrete full-time programs of nonprofit management education. To explore this contention, the authors draw on several sets of evidence. First, they examine literature about these trends. Second, they draw on their research and consultancies in nonprofit management and in large-scale educational strategies. Third, they draw on their experiences of developing and teaching nonprofit management education programs in the United Kingdom. They argue that new problems have overlaid old problems in the nonprofit world. However, these are linked to broader societal trends that reflect new ways of organizing, and this shifts the focus of learning and development. Finally, they review the implications for nonprofit management education and set out some principles to guide new developments in this field.

Toward an Empirical Characterization of Bridging and Bonding Social Capital

March 2007


282 Reads

Though a vast amount of empirical work stresses the beneficial effects of social capital, the recent literature has explicitly recognized the importance of distinguishing different types of social capital. Particularly, a distinction has been made between homogeneous (or bonding) and heterogeneous (or bridging) networks under the argument that the latter are more likely to generate positive externalities than the former. The empirical operationalization of this theoretical distinction has thus far, however, remained underdeveloped. The authors take a step to resolve this issue by assessing the diversity of (voluntary) association membership on a number of socioeconomic traits. The proposed methodology is applied to Flemish survey data on voluntary association membership. This analysis indicates that hobby clubs and humanitarian associations such as the Red Cross are among the most bridging associations, whereas women's groups and associations for retired people are among the most bonding groups. © 2007 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Navigating Institutional Pressure in State-Socialist and Democratic Regimes The Case of Movement Brontosaurus

February 2010


51 Reads

Using the case of Movement Brontosaurus, a Czech organization founded in state socialist times, this article investigates how civic associations and nongovernmental organizations seeking to promote alternatives to the status quo respond to institutional pressures in different political and social contexts. The case shows that under state socialism, Brontosaurus appeared to conform to state mandates and societal expectations. However, its formal structure was decoupled from many activities to obscure its oppositional intent.After the transition to democracy, the organization was only able to maintain its place in society after it aligned its structure and practices with each other and openly expressed its alternative agenda. The findings demonstrate how social change and alternative lifestyle organizations vary their responses to institutional pressure in ways that enable them to realize their values and pursue their missions while accounting for the political and social contexts in which they are embedded.

Figure 1. Budget Constraint
Giving to Secular Causes by the Religious and Nonreligious: An Experimental Test of the Responsiveness of Giving to Subsidies

June 2004


107 Reads

Although evidence indicates that religious persons are more generous on average than nonreligious persons, little work has been done to determine if this greater generosity is a general pattern or is, rather, specific to church-based institutions. Limited research addresses if, or how, religious and nonreligious givers respond to subsidies. This article uses experimental data to examine differences in the amount and pattern of giving to secularcharities in response to subsidies by self-identified religious and nonreligious participants. The results indicate no significant difference in either the amount or pattern of giving or in the response to subsidies by religious and nonreligious participants; however, giving by religious participants is significantly more responsive to income changes than giving by nonreligious participants.

Top-cited authors