4:30 PM PST – Formalizing the Relationship Between Practitioners and Academics
Last session of the day! Emphasizing the importance of connecting research to practice has been a theme of this whole conference, but this session specifically focuses on the relationship between academics and practitioners.
The panel features Dr. Matt Ehlman, a doctoral grad of the school and managing principal of The Numad Group, Dr. Shariq Siddiqui, Director of the Muslim Philanthropy Institute and assistant professor of philanthropic studies, and Dr. Tracey Coule, a lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University and the Research-to-Practice Editor for Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ).
Dr. Coule discussed looking at research from a practice lens, and explained how NVSQ works to translate those findings, especially through its blog. She also emphasized the importance of translating research for different audiences.
Dr. Siddiqui discussed his upcoming research on Muslim advocacy nonprofits in Chicago. He also said how he wants to train grassroots nonprofits in fundraising, how he’d like research and nonprofits to take ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion seriously, and how being engaged with practitioners is good for research.
Dr. Ehlman worked at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for many years. The Reservation welcomed researchers to study Lakota people, although that data would disappear after the researchers left. Currently, Dr. Ehlman works with a consulting group that collaborates with a wide variety of nonprofits. He emphasized the importance of giving nonprofits real data about the field in order to improve it.
He also asked how many people in the room come from higher education institutions, and how many aren’t. Many come from higher ed institutions, but there were a number who worked in consulting or the nonprofit sector, which is quite encouraging when considering goals to translate practice to research. There seems to be a long way to go, but I can definitely tell that this gap is at the forefront of both practitioners’ and academics’ minds.
2 PM PST – Giving to Women’s and Girls’ Causes
I’m now in the second panel organized by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI)! Participants conducted specific research on giving to women’s and girls’ organizations.
Visiting research associate Tessa Skidmore & statistician Jon Bergdoll discussed the Women and Girls Index (WGI), a comprehensive list of charitable organizations in U.S. that mostly serve women and girls.
You can learn more about this study here, but it is interesting to note that this index can be used as a gender lens for other research.
Elizabeth Gillespie from University of Nebraska at Omaha discussed her research on women’s foundations and funds and her work with WPI. She explained how women’s funds were first created to be changemakers, and what they do now to support women and girls. Most women’s foundations and funds seek to advance women’s philanthropy. Many believe they have been successful at achieving change through empowerment and community-based changes, although they use different approaches to do so.
Learn more about this study, and keep and eye out for a follow-up post in December!
Dr. Patrick Dwyer discussed a study he and co-authors conducted about the role of social norms in encouraging giving to women’s and girls’ causes. Social norms are behaviors that are common, valued, and accepted by others, such as encouraging people to hang up their towels at hotel rooms because others do it.
The more interested people thought that others were in giving to women’s and girls’ causes then encouraged those individuals themselves to give to those causes.
Learn more about this study and Dr. Dwyer’s take on how social psychology can inform giving to women’s and girls’ causes.
If you work for an organization dedicated to serving women’s and girls’ causes, think about the role of norms in encouraging giving to your organization! Understanding women’s and girls’ funds, foundations, and nonprofit organizations focused on these causes can help us better understand giving and philanthropy in U.S. as well.
11 AM PST – Navigating Policy Issues and Nonprofits in the Trump Era
Project coordinator Sasha Zarins discussed the impacts of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA) on charitable giving. She mentioned that many nonprofits worry about the effects of this act, and discussed the impact of some provisions on charitable giving.
- Provisions that could have a positive impact – cash contribution limits
- Provisions that could have a negative impact – estate and gift tax, UBIT, employee fringe benefits, new excise taxes imposed on executive compensation, new excise tax on some college and university endowments
- Provisions with an indirect impact – standard deduction (largest effect), pease limitation, state and local taxes, alternative minimum tax
Zarins mentioned that data is currently lacking on the total impact of this law; however, researchers and nonprofits can study trends over time and donor intent in order to determine current impact.
Research has found that the numbers of donors are decreasing, although giving has increased. Zarins and Dr. Una Osili wrote an article about this phenomenon last year. Major donors are giving more, even thought the number of donors are decreasing. In addition, donor retention rates are going down.
So what does it mean? Short-term, it could mean a possible quick drop in dollars and a continued drop in donors. Long-term, it could have an unknown impact on the culture of giving, since giving because of a tax motivation may not be the biggest motivation for giving.
So what could be changed? Zarins discussed that the charitable giving incentives could be extended to all taxpayers, and the impact that it could have.
You can learn more from her blog post about that study.
Nonprofit practitioners need to pay close attention to public policy of how laws can affect charitable giving. Anecdotal evidence about charitable giving can also help supplement research about giving.
There was also an important point from Jennifer Kagan from the University of Hawaii brought up about nonprofits, specifically 501c3s and advocacy efforts. It seems like there’s more room for advocacy efforts within the tax code limits than what many nonprofits do. I wonder if there’s more potential for voice within the nonprofit sector as a whole.
9:30 AM PST – Donor Behavior in a 21st Century Digital Age
How is donor behavior changing in this digital age? Social media and digital platforms are rapidly changing how nonprofits and research consider giving.
Is developing a prosocial orientation part of becoming an adult? Dr. Patricia Snell Herzog is conducting a national, longitudinal study related to this question. Interestingly, past literature has found that many emerging adults could not identify a single group or organization that they felt a sense of belonging.
So, how can nonprofits encourage a sense of belonging for these emerging adults so that they become more prosocial (and therefore may decide to donate and volunteer)? It’s a question that nonprofits must consider as they engage emerging adults in the coming years.
Dr. Chelsea Clark and Jon Bergdoll discussed the Give-O-Meter, which illustrates to potential donors how their giving stacks up when compared with other American household giving. What happens when individuals see how much others give?
They found that social comparison information influences charitable giving, and may be most influential for people who haven’t given before.
It could be worthwhile for nonprofits to share national or specific demographic data on giving for potential donors in order to encourage donations.
Other presentations discussed how social media is transforming the way individuals give. The traditional model of giving may need to be adjusted. In addition, nonprofits can consider how young people use social media to compare themselves to others, and how that could be used to encourage donations.
The digital world and its impact on multiple generations is changing how we think about giving. Nonprofits have the potential to use technology and data to raise awareness and increase donations amongst multiple generations.
Welcome to ARNOVA 2019! ARNOVA, or the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, brings together researchers/scholars and leaders to help advance knowledge about nonprofits and philanthropy in order to help improve civil society.
Hundreds of scholars, including many Lilly Family School of Philanthropy faculty, research staff members, and doctoral students have descended upon San Diego for the 48th Annual ARNOVA Conference to share their knowledge in order to advance the nonprofit field. We want to share some of their findings and how they apply to practitioners.
Follow along with us! We’ll share updates throughout the day.