Dimensions of Capacity in Nonprofit Human Service Organizations

Published in VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

December 2016, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 2889–2912

by:

  • William A. Brown Email author
  • Fredrik O. Andersson hbi 
  • Suyeon Jo

The purpose of this paper is to present and develop a firmer grasp of the underlying dimensions of organizational capacity in nonprofit human service organizations. The paper draws on the resource-based view of the organization (Barney et al. in Journal of Management 37:1299, 2011; Wernerfelt in Strategic Management Journal 5:171, 1984), which recognizes that organizational attributes and capabilities facilitate performance. Interviews were conducted with 66 executives in moderate sized, human service organizations to discuss factors that influence performance. Findings suggest that human, financial, and social capital all contribute to organizational performance. Executives emphasized the quality of people associated with the organization including the role of the board of directors in supporting performance. Many respondents also believed that maintaining healthy and dynamic external relationships was critical to success.

Click here to download the complete article.

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Toward More Targeted Capacity Building: Diagnosing Capacity Needs Across Organizational Life Stages

Published in VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

December 2016, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 2860–2888

by:

  • Fredrik O. Andersson cropped-hbi_small.jpg
  • Lewis Faulk 
  • Amanda J. Stewart

Investments to build nonprofit organizational capacity have increased rapidly in recent years as both funders and nonprofits seek ways to improve performance. Yet, while research has elucidated the variety of capacity areas organizations generally depend on, we do not yet have a clear empirical understanding of which capacity areas are important to focus on developing or how these capacity needs vary across organizations. Using a life-cycle perspective and extensive data on 71 human service organizations, we examine the relative strength of ten capacity areas at different stages of the nonprofit life-cycle. Findings contribute greater empirical grounding for research on organizational capacity development and have implications for researchers, managers, and funders interested in nonprofit capacity building.

Click here to download the complete article.

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Exploring the Nexus of Nonprofit Financial Stability and Financial Growth

Published in VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

December 2016, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 2561–2575

by:

  • Grace L. Chikoto-Schultz hbi 
  • Daniel Gordon Neely cropped-hbi_small.jpg

Taking a unified approach to studying nonprofit financial health, this research tackles a key question that has remained unexplored in the literature: “What lies at the intersection of the two key dimensions of financial health–financial stability and financial growth?” Specifically, we identify and compare nonprofits that exhibit high levels of financial stability and growth (high financially performing) to those that exhibit low levels (low financially performing)? Overall, we find that high financial performers (HFPs) tend to be older and larger organizations (in terms of unrestricted net assets and total revenue). HFPs are also more likely to report capital assets, and report high levels of compensation. Finally, HFPs tend to contain their overhead spending by exercising efficiency by investing in talented officers (paying more than the rest), but limiting the share of officer compensation, administrative, and fundraising expenses, as a percentage of total expenses. The results of the study should be informative to stakeholders attempting to understand the profile of an organization that is successfully able to achieve both capacity growth and financial stability.

Click here to download the complete paper.

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New Data on The Number of Organizations, Employment and Wages in the Nonprofit Sector

In an interesting publication from February 2016, The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides real data on a number of key nonprofit sector features including employment, and wages. The report, among other things, offers a look at how nonprofit jobs are distributed geographically and what proportion of the jobs in particular fields are nonprofit.

For long it has been difficult to obtain good macro data on the nonprofit sector, one of the most vibrant and essential segments of the U.S. economy. However, thanks to researchers at the Johns Hopkins University and the Urban Institute working with BLS, we are now beginning to get a greater sense of the economic landscape of the sector. The report concentrates on the period 2007-2012, and some key findings include:

  • Nonprofit employment increased every year during the 2007–12 review period (even during the 2007–09 recession). Over this period, nonprofit employment increased 8.5 percent, from 10.5 million jobs to 11.4 million jobs.
  • Total annual wages (not adjusted for inflation) increased from $421 billion in 2007 to $532 billion in 2012, a nominal increase of 26 percent.
  • The steady growth in employment wages, and number of new organizations stands in contrast to the development taking place in the private sector, with employment declining by 3 percent over the period and nominal wages and the number of establishments growing significantly slower than in the nonprofit sector.

 

The report from the BLS can be found here: http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2016/article/nonprofits-in-america.htm

Determinants of School Failure in the Milwaukee Voucher Program

Originally presented on

October 14, 2015 – 5.00 – 6:00pm, UW-Milwaukee, Lubar School of Business, Room S165

Presenters:

  • Michael Ford, Assistant Professor, UW-Oshkosh cropped-hbi_small.jpg
  • Fredrik O. Andersson, Assistant Professor, Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management, UW-Milwaukee cropped-hbi_small.jpg

In this presentation we use 25-years of data to map out instances of nonprofit school failure in Milwaukee’s longstanding voucher school program.  The study builds on previous work by Andersson and Ford (2015) connecting the Milwaukee voucher experience to literature on social entrepreneurship.  Specifically, we argue that the Milwaukee voucher program is a policy designed to foster social entrepreneurship, and that both organization- and environmental-level factors influence the lifecycle of these schools. Specifically, we use quantitative techniques to explore the determinants of school failure, a common occurrence throughout the Milwaukee voucher program’s history.

View the lecture here

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Nonprofit Fiscal Sponsors: An Overview of a Vital Yet Unacknowledged Nonprofit Industry

Originally presented on

November 5, 2015 – 5.00 – 6:00pm, UW-Milwaukee, Curtain Hall, Room 124

Presenter:

  • Dan Neely, Associate Professor, UW-Milwaukee

This presentation describes and examines nonprofit fiscal sponsors i.e. an already existing nonprofit organization agreeing to provide a legal home and support for currently unincorporated nonprofit entities. Using data from a national fiscal sponsor directory containing over 200 fiscal sponsors this presentation addresses a range of questions including: what type of nonprofit organization serves as fiscal sponsors, how many projects do they sponsor, what type of projects do they sponsor, and what type of support do they offer, and to how does the answer to these questions differ by the type, size and age of the fiscal sponsor? Finally, what do the fiscal sponsor receive in return, if anything, for their services?

View the lecture here

Nonprofit Wisconsin in Brief: Size and Scope

Commissioned by the Wisconsin Nonprofits Association, HBI scholars and staff have published this Wisconsin Nonprofit “Size & Scope” report to provide an overview of the State’s nonprofit sector. The report is designed to promote an understanding of the importance of Wisconsin’s nonprofit sector to the well-being of Wisconsin’s citizens by providing the following:

  • Background on how nonprofits are defined and classified.
  • Explanation of those nonprofits for which data are easily available— or not—and why.
  • Numbers and growth of Wisconsin’s nonprofit sector.
  • Information about nonprofit revenue — amounts and sources.
  • Facts about nonprofits that correct common misunderstandings about the sector.
  • Highlights regarding unique and important aspects of the sector.

This report reveals the following (and more):

  • Wisconsin’s nonprofit sector is growing and there are many more nonprofits than we are able to easily count.
  • Nonprofits rely on a broad array of revenue sources and amounts and sources of revenue vary significantly among different types of nonprofits.
  • Government continues to rely on nonprofits to perform a number of key functions in our communities and challenges remain related to the contracts and grants involved.
  • Both staff and volunteers play critical roles in carrying out nonprofit missions.

Download your own copy of Nonprofit Wisconsin in Brief: Size and Scope.

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