Panel: Nonprofit Dynamics in Diverse Policy Environments: International and Domestic Perspectives
(Public and Non-Profit Management and Finance)

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Dona Ana (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Khaldoun AbouAssi, Texas A&M University
Panel Chairs:  Stephanie L. Smith, University of New Mexico
Discussants:  Renee Irvin, University of Oregon

Financial Impact of Nonprofit Organizational Changes
David Berlan, Florida State University

The Impact of Collaboration on Nonprofits' Human Capacity
Khaldoun AbouAssi, Texas A&M University and Suyeon Jo, Syracuse University

Choosing to Advocate: Understanding the Advocacy Activities of NGOs in Cambodia
Mary Kay Gugerty and David Suárez, University of Washington

Nonprofit or Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play a critical role in influencing their external environment, both through informing policy and implementing particular policy objectives. However, much remains to be known as to how these organizations develop and structure their activities and relations to fulfill these functions. The purpose of the panel is to consider empirical evidence as it relates to the internal-external dynamics of nonprofit organizations. Specifically, the papers as a whole consider the extent to which the internal organization and strategies of nonprofits can influence and are influenced by external forces in a given policy environment The panels consider internal-external organizational dynamics from both a domestic and international perspective. Increasingly, policies and programs encourage nonprofits to enter into collaborative relationships with other nonprofit organizations, public agencies, or private for-profit firms to carry out public objectives. These organizational arrangements raise a number of questions as to the impacts on the human capacity of nonprofit organization as well as the advocacy capacity of organizations engaged in such arrangements. From a domestic perspective, Casey in “Nonprofit Advocacy in Community Development: A Perspective on Role and Function” considers the effects of these arrangements on the advocacy capacity of nonprofits. Specifically, her paper explains convergences and divergences in advocacy among nonprofit organizations that fulfill different roles in community development, ranging from service providers or housing producers to those specifically focused on building the political and social capacity of communities. In “Financial Impact in Nonprofit Organizational Change,” Berlan considers the effects of the economic recession on internal nonprofit organizational change, and if transformational organizational changes put nonprofits in a better financial position to fulfill its mission. Using data that captures financial measures and a range of changes, including CEO, board chair, mission, and lead programs, for a sample of 152 internationally active nonprofits over time, he challenges these assumptions to see if, in fact, these transformational changes improve the positioning of nonprofits. The final two papers consider internal-external dynamics from an international perspective. AbouAssi and Jo examine the impact of inter-organizational collaboration on nonprofits’ human resource capacity in “Impact of Collaboration on Nonprofit’s Human Capacity”. The results indicate that organizations engaged in partnerships have more paid staff and volunteers; and professional development of staff is contingent upon the financial resources acquired from the partnerships. This suggests that engagement in partnerships can potentially influence the professionalization of the organization. Finally, Gugerty and Suarez in “Choosing to Advocate: Understanding the Advocacy Activities of NGOs in Cambodia” suggest that the strategies nonprofits adopt to pursue advocacy functions are influenced by their external environment. For example, while street protests and more public forms of advocacy appear to be relatively rare among NGOs in Cambodia, their data suggest that a surprising amount of advocacy does take place but its effectiveness is influenced upon adoption of strategies perceived as legitimate with the cultural context. A moderated discussion will follow the presentation of the papers in order to identify cross-cutting, comparative themes between the papers and directions for future research and inquiry.