Toward nonprofit organization reform in the voluntary spirit: Lessons from the internet

This article identifies two models of nonprofit organization roles: the economic model, which emphasizes business-like methods, and the voluntary spirit model, which emphasizes participation and membership. Highly visible, professional nonprofit organizations must constantly struggle with the extent to which they are to emphasize their role as efficient and competitive economic actors or their role as institutions important to our democracy. After years of shifting toward the economic model, professional nonprofits may be ripe for reform. Simultaneously, they are confronting and engaging with the Internet. This article draws on examples of health-based citizen cyber-organizations to derive lessons for how professional nonprofit organizations can recapture their voluntary spirit generally and places an emphasis on participation and membership. Also derived are specific lessons on how professional nonprofits can use cyber-strategies to do so.

This article identifies two models of nonprofit organization roles: the economic model, which emphasizes business-like methods, and the voluntary spirit model, which emphasizes participation and membership. Highly visible, professional nonprofit organizations must constantly struggle with the extent to which they are to emphasize their role as efficient and competitive economic actors or their role as institutions important to our democracy. After years of shifting toward the economic model, professional nonprofits may be ripe for reform. Simultaneously, they are confronting and engaging with the Internet. This article draws on examples of health-based citizen cyber-organizations to derive lessons for how professional nonprofit organizations can recapture their voluntary spirit generally and places an emphasis on participation and membership. Also derived are specific lessons on how professional nonprofits can use cyber-strategies to do so.

File Type: 1177/0899764004266021
Categories: Case Studies, Current Issues, Org Theory, PA Theory