Understanding Nonprofit Organizations

Edited by J. Steven Ott and Lisa A. Dicke, with Cases by C. Kenneth Meyer

Third Edition • July 7, 2015 • 350 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813349619 • $52.00 USD$56.50 CAN


More by these authors: ,

Order an Exam or Desk Copy

Understanding Nonprofit Organizations examines the most important issues that face today’s leaders and managers of nonprofit organizations through the writing of scholars, consultants, and practicing executives. It focuses on governing, leading, and managing nonprofit organizations and how such organizations differ from both the public and private sectors. Each part opens with a framing essay that identifies the central themes and issues and summarizes the significance of the contribution that each piece makes to the development of knowledge in the field.

Completely revised and updated, the third edition includes new articles on legal frameworks, philanthropy, managing volunteers and accountability, as well as an original essay on capacity building by Michele Cole. In addition, the third edition now features brand-new case studies adapted by C. Kenneth Meyer specifically for Understanding Nonprofit Organizations—making it an even more student-friendly text for graduate and upper-division undergraduate nonprofit organizations and management survey courses.

J. Steven Ott is Director of the Institute of Public and International Affairs and professor of political science at the University of Utah. He has served as a consultant to numerous nonprofit organizations and local and state government agencies, and has chaired the Executive Committee of the Nonprofit Management Education Section of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Dr. Ott has authored and edited many books, articles, and chapters on the nonprofit sector and its organizations, organization theory, organizational behavior, human resource management, administrative theory, accountability, and organizational culture.

Lisa A. Dicke is a professor of public administration at the University of North Texas. Dr. Dicke serves on the Executive Council and on the Committee of the Nonprofit Management Education Section of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Her research interests include organizational leadership, as well as accountability in government and nonprofit organizations, and her articles have been published in numerous books and journals.

David O. Renz


Part I. Governance of Nonprofit Organizations

1. Board of Directors.
Stephen R. Block (1998)

2. Guide to Nonprofit Corporate Governance in the Wake of Sarbanes-Oxley
American Bar Association, Coordinating Committee on Nonprofit Governance (2005)

Case Study 1: Welcome to the Board of Directors

Case Study 2: Unwelcome News

Part II. The Legal Framework (Jared Bennett)

3. Organizational, Operational, and Related Tests and Doctrines
Bruce R. Hopkins (2011)

4. Evaluating the Charitable Deduction and Proposed Reforms
Roger Colinvaux, Brian Galle, Eugene Steuerle (2012)

5. Punctilios and Nonprofit Corporate Governance: A Comprehensive Look at Nonprofit Directors’ Fiduciary Duties
Thomas Lee Hazen & Lisa Love Hazen (2012)

Case Study 3: Daughter Dearest

Case Study 4: Conflicting Values

Part III. Strategic Leadership

6. Executive Director.
Stephen R. Block (1990)

7. When No One Is in Charge: The Meaning of Shared Power
Barbara C. Crosby and John M. Bryson (2005)

Case Study 5: The Downward Spiral of Founder’s Hospital

Case Study 6: Between a Rock and Boulder

Part IV. Innovation and Capacity

8. Taking Social Entrepreneurship Seriously
J. Gregory Dees (2007)

9. Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World
Beth Kanter and Katie Delahaye Paine (2012).

Case Study 7: Creative Curmudgeonry

Case Study 8: Introspection, Creativity and Cloud Computing

Part V. Fund Development: Generating Revenues

10. Capacity Building: Strategies for Successful Fundraising
Michele Cole (2014)

11. Analyzing the Dynamics of Funding: Reliability and Autonomy
Jon Pratt (2004)

12. Foundations
Elizabeth T. Boris (1998)

Case Study 9: Ethical Considerations in Fundraising

Case Study 10: The Selling of America

Part VI. Philanthropy in Action

13. Philanthropic Social Ventures: A Framework and Profile of the Emerging Field
Holona LeAnne Ochs (2012)

14. Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to
Educate the World’s Children
John Wood (2006)

Case Study 11: Growing Support Online One Meal at a Time

Case Study 12: Volunteer and Donor Recruitment on Social Media

Part VII. Contracts, Partners and Collaborations

15. A Manager’s Guide to Choosing and Using Collaborative Networks
H. Brinton Milward and Keith G. Provan (2006)

16. Paradoxes in the Management of Networks.
Sonia M. Ospina and Angel Saz-Carranza (2010)

Case Study 13: Printing, Politics and Personal Preferences

Case Study 14: Show Me the Money

Part VIII. Budgets, Financial Reports, and Management Control

17. The Underpinnings of Financial and Fiscal Operations
Dale Swoboda and Georgalu Swoboda (2009)

18. Types of Nonprofit Income: Financial and Cash Management Considerations
Murray Dropkin and Allyson Hayden (2001)

Case Study 15: Throwing the First E-Stone

Case Study 16: When the Funding Stops

Part IX. Managing Volunteers

19. What is Volunteering?
Marc A. Musick and John Wilson (2008)

20. It Ain’t Natural: Toward a New (Natural) Resource Conceptualization for Volunteer Management
Jeffrey L. Brudney and Lucas C.P.M. Meijs (2009)

Case Study 17: Now You See ‘Em, Now You Don’t: Volunteers and Nonprofits

Case Study 18: Turning the Tide: Transitioning From Volunteers to Paid Staff

Part X. Accountability and Evaluation

21. Balancing Competing Accountability Requirements: Challenges in
Performance Improvement of the Nonprofit Human Services Agency
Seok-Eun Kim (2005)

22. Accountability Online: Understanding the Web-Based Accountability Practices of Nonprofit Organizations Accountability
Gregory D. Saxton and Chao Guo (2011)

Case Study 19: An Awareness Campaign

Case Study 20: Technology and Transparency at the Museum

“Ott and Dicke should be applauded for their outstanding efforts, which bridge the macro and micro levels of the nonprofit sector for the first time and consequentially enrich the intellectual understanding of the field.”
Public Administration Review, Vol. 73, Issue 1, January/February, 2013

“In my view, nothing competes with this book. It differs from all others in the foundational nature of its readings, the scope of coverage, and the introductory essays of the co-editors that synthesize concepts and knit together the ideas of others.”
Kathleen Hale, Auburn University

“This is an excellent resource to give students a taste for research in the field and to help them explore more deeply the topics in their primary textbook. I like it because it has the variety of topics across the gamut of nonprofit management, the articles are not too cumbersome, the quality of the articles is good, and the introductions to the topics are clear and make the issue interesting for my students. Without this book as a supplement to the primary text, the course would be shallow.”
Russell A. Cargo, Carroll College

If you are a professor or course instructor, please use the following form to give us feedback on Understanding Nonprofit Organizations: