Nonprofits and Philanthropy in a Polarized World: Speaking Truth to Power and Using Power to Speak Truth - 48th Annual ARNOVA Conference

Country: USA

City: San Diego

Abstr. due: 02.04.2019

Dates: 21.11.19 — 23.11.19

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Organizers: Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action


The 2019 ARNOVA conference will be in San Diego, CA, a city at the heart of the emerging Cali-Baja Binational Mega Region, which encompasses the area known as California – Baja Mexico. With a combined population of more than 6.5 million, CaliBaja boasts the largest concentration of persons living along the U.S.-Mexico border, near perfect weather, natural beauty, a world-famous zoo, and is home to more than 90 colleges and universities and over 80 research institutes. Despite these desirable characteristics, San Diego’s nonprofit and philanthropic sector finds itself at the intersection of many of the most polarizing issues facing contemporary civil society. The region is at the frontlines of the immigration debate—grappling with the dualism of sustaining a binational community and militarily enforcing border protection. San Diego is a hotbed of innovation; yet, the city grapples with extremes in wealth, a growing homeless population, and a shortage of affordable housing. San Diego’s prized natural beauty is threatened by environmental regulatory changes, population growth pressures, and climate change. In the face of these challenges, the region is leveraging its many existing resources to innovate and model sustainable solutions. Thus, San Diego provides a timely and germane setting for a meeting of nonprofit and philanthropy scholars to discuss how nonprofits speak truth to power and use their power to speak truth.

Conference Theme 
What roles do nonprofits have in a polarized world?  How do nonprofits operate as forces that ameliorate or exacerbate? How has civil society contributed to and/or been affected by dualisms? What role(s) does philanthropy have in changing political, economic, and social landscapes?

Accountability, Effectiveness, Evaluation, and Program Outcomes 
In what way(s) do nonprofits hold diverse publics accountable? Are these ways effective? To what extent do evaluation practices and metrics accurately capture the effectiveness of nonprofit and philanthropic action? What kinds of nonprofit and philanthropic programs are thriving or failing, and why?

Boards and Governance 
What important challenges do boards face—particularly in light of an increasingly divided world? How are these challenges being met? How are governance models adapting and/or changing? Are there novel board governance practices? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different models? Are certain board practices more/less associated with more positive/negative outcomes?

Civil Society, Community, and Grassroots Associations 
In what ways do third sector organizations contribute to democratic outcomes? How is globalization affecting civil society in different nations? What new forms of civil society are developing and what is the impact on the state and citizens? What are the drivers and implications of changing spaces for civil society? What is the role of social movements today? To what extent are new technologies changing the way organizing and voluntary action take place? What is the role of faith communities in advocating for and meeting human needs?

Collaboration: In, Between, and Among Sectors 
What is the role of collaboration in, between, and among nonprofit and philanthropic organizations? With whom do nonprofit and philanthropic organizations collaborate? What are the implications of collaboration in the nonprofit and voluntary sector? What tools, methods, and theories help us understand collaborative activity within and across sectors?

Networks and Methodology 
What methodological approaches help us to better understand the role and function of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations? How do we measure the connectedness of nonprofit and philanthropic organizations within and between one another, communities, and societies? What methodological techniques can we utilize to research the role of social media in connecting nonprofits to various publics?  How can we harness big data to answer big questions?

 History, Religion, and Arts 
How do philanthropy and nonprofit organizations express and navigate competing religious, ethical, and political values?  What are historical trends in practices, purposes, and forms of charitable organization?  What role do art and creative spaces play in defining the practices of civil society?

Innovation and Entrepreneurship 
To what extent are novel approaches to social change or service delivery re-defining the work of the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors? What new (or hybrid) organizational forms are emerging? What are the implications of these forms?

Management, Leadership, and Strategy 
What shifts in nonprofit management practice have occurred in recent years? What are the implications of these shifts? Are nonprofit leadership styles changing? If so, how so, and why? Are nonprofit and philanthropic organizations adopting new strategies in response to changing circumstances and public values? How do management and leadership practices vary among nonprofit and philanthropic organizations—particularly among organizations with vastly differing purposes?

Philanthropy, Fundraising, and Giving 
How is the concept and practice of philanthropy evolving? How is giving changing? Are donors and fundraisers shifting their behaviors? If so, how? How do mechanisms of giving operate in different contexts?

Public Policy, Law, Regulation, and Advocacy 
What role(s) do nonprofits play in the policy process? What laws and regulations govern nonprofits and do they need to adapt to changing environments? How do nonprofits advocate for policies and their missions?

Research to Practice 
From a practical perspective, what are the major challenges facing nonprofit policy and operations that scholarship can help address? What measures, methods, and outlets are useful for assessing the reach and impact of nonprofit scholarship?

Teaching and Education
What are the epistemological foundations of nonprofit scholarship? What pedagogical practices are we using to prepare the next generation of nonprofit leaders? To what extent should nonprofit academic programming change with the times?

Voluntarism and Volunteering 
How is voluntarism changing in the current environment? What new or additional knowledge, skills, and abilities are needed by volunteers? What contributions do volunteers make to civil society?

Open Track 
If your paper focuses on a topic that does not fit neatly in one of the above tracks, please submit here. Accepted papers will be placed in panels complementary to the research focus. 

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