Category Archives: 2007

Government Funding and Community Representation on Nonprofit Boards: The Bargain We Strike

Chao Guo

A study conducted by the author indicates that reliance on government funding may have a negative impact on community representation within nonprofit boards, as these boards become increasingly populated by professional and social elites with ties to public funding agencies. The author suggests that the appointment of volunteers to a nonprofit’s board may help alleviate this problem, by simultaneously increasing community representation and improving board strength.

Nonprofit Quarterly 14, no. 4 (2007): 70-76

New Dimensions of Nonprofit Responsiveness: The Application and Promise of Internet-Based Technologies

Gregory D. Saxton, Chao Guo and William A. Brown

The incredible diffusion of the Internet is ushering in a new era of possibilities for nonprofit organizations to engage with and be responsive to their core stakeholders, yet little is known of the range and extent of such practices. To enhance our understanding of these increasingly important yet understudied phenomena, we conduct a comprehensive study of 117 community foundations’ Web-based stakeholder responsiveness practices. Our examination of four key dimensions of online responsiveness reveals a number of best practices and areas of untapped potential. We argue that online stakeholder responsiveness is increasingly a strategic concern; to successfully fulfill their mission, organizations thus need to consider seriously the amount and interactivity of the content they target at each of their core constituents.

Public performance & management review 31, no. 2 (2007): 144-173

When Government Becomes the Principal Philanthropist: The Effect of Public Funding on Patterns of Nonprofit Governance

Chao Guo

This study uses board governance as an analytical lens for exploring the effects of government funding on the representational capacities of nonprofit organizations. A typology of governance patterns is first developed that captures the board’s strength relative to the chief executive and its representation of community interests. Using this typology and employing multinomial logit analyses of survey data from a sample of urban charitable organizations, the study tests how nonprofit governance is mediated by levels of government funding. Controlling for other relevant environmental and institutional factors, reliance on government funding decreases the likelihood that nonprofit organizations will develop strong, representative boards.

Public Administration Review 67, no. 3 (2007): 458-473

Representation in Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations: A Conceptual Framework

Chao Guo and Juliet A. Musso

It is held that nonprofit and voluntary organizations contribute to democratic governance by representing the interests of their constituents to the state. Yet little is known about the capacities of these organizations to represent effectively their constituents and the larger community. This study proposes a framework for understanding the varieties of representation in nonprofit and voluntary organizations. The authors argue that the nature of representation within an organization is indicated by five dimensions: substantive, symbolic, formal, descriptive, and participatory representation. Formal, descriptive, and participatory representation are different means of achieving substantive and symbolic representation; the latter being measures of the extent to which organizations “act for” and “stand for” particular constituencies. They further suggest that this conceptual framework serves as a useful first step toward examining the representational capacities of nonprofit organizations. Two illustrative cases of community-based organizations are presented to tease out the complexity of representational mixes found in nonprofits.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 36, no. 2 (2007): 308-326

Managing Effectively in a Networked World

Muhittin Acar, Chao Guo and Gregory D. Saxton 

In an era of globalization, devolution, decentralization, the “New Governance,” advanced information and communications technology, and the growing complexity of public problems, public-private partnerships have become an increasingly popular vehicle for delivering services and generating solutions to our most pressing societal problems. Others have already discussed the growing use of partnership arrangements and looked at the benefits that derive from these arrangements. Here we are interested in something else—an elaboration of the specific skill sets managers need to excel in this increasingly decentralized, collaborative, and “networked” environment. Based on in-depth interviews with over two dozen educational partnership directors, we elaborate the nine key management skills, values, and attitudes that are essential for success in managing partnership arrangements.

The Public Manager 36, no. 2 (2007): 33-38