Special Issues

About NPF and Special Issues

NPF publishes original, high-quality research and analysis from all scholarly disciplines and all parts of the world that address important public policy issues affecting nonprofits, philanthropy, and social enterprise. A double-blind peer review process is used to select papers for publication.

NPF is published quarterly by De Gruyter, Inc. in an open access format. Open access is made possible by NPF’s generous institutional sponsors: the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA); the Humphrey School of the University of Minnesota; The Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University; Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy; George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government; and the Urban Institute. NPF’s editorial board consists of leading scholars from 20 different countries in Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia. The journal is included in the Emerging Science Citation Index (ESCI) and is searchable in the Web of Science Core Collection.

NPF regularly invites papers for special issues on topics of interest to NPF’s readership. Proposals for new special issues are also welcome.

Upcoming Special Issues

Guest Editors: 

  • Anna Domaradzka, University of Warsaw 
  • Shawn Flanigan, San Diego State University 
  • Tania Haddad, American University of Beirut

Call for Papers:

Nonprofit Policy Forum invites papers for a special issue on Nonprofits, Public Policy, and Migration Crises. Crises of migration draw attention in many parts of the world, but are overlooked with dire consequences in others. Since the beginning of the Russian War in Ukraine in February 2022, over 11 million people have left Ukraine, and 7 million are internally displaced (UNHCR, August 2022). Images of Afghans clinging to planes evacuating Kabul prior to the Taliban’s takeover in August 2021 were only the most recent event in one of the largest protracted refugee situations in the world (UNHCR 2022). Eleven years after the onset of the Syrian civil war, 13 million Syrians still live as refugees or are internally displaced, the majority living in extreme poverty (UNHCR 2022). Migrant arrests on the Mexico-U.S. border exceeded 2 million for the first time in 2022 (Washington Post, 2022), with migrants fleeing not only repressive government regimes but natural disasters, poverty and food scarcity, and high levels of crime and gang violence. While migration crises driven by climate change, poverty and crime may receive less media coverage than those driven by war, the human toll is devastating. Yet crises of migration are not always viewed sympathetically, and in many countries around the world migration has become a controversial political issue and a rallying point for voters and political movements. 

Nonprofits, NGOs, and other civil society actors participate in and are affected by migration crises in a variety of ways. For example, nonprofits advocate for and against public policy related to migration at national, international, and sometimes local levels; participate in policymaking and governance collaborations related to migration policy and services for migrants; and work with communities to implement initiatives responding to migration crises, or to implement services for migrants. This special issue explores the relationship between nonprofits (or NGOs or other civil society actors), public policy, and migration crises. We use the term “migration crises” here to capture situations of vulnerable migration that include refugees and internally displaced persons, but might also include other individuals who do not technically qualify for refugee status but are migrating at risk and in vulnerable circumstances. Questions to be addressed in this special issue may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What roles do nonprofits or other civil society actors play in policymaking or governance schemes related to migration, particularly migration crises? For example, what is the role of nonprofits in advocating directly to policymakers or engaging voters and others to be active in supporting or opposing migration initiatives? How does the role of civil society vary around the world, or what are the global dimensions of refugee governance?
  • What is the role of foundations in funding initiatives that support or oppose migration? And how do foundation and other funding priorities affect the ability of nonprofits to respond and adapt to migration crises?
  • How do policies governing the nonprofit sector affect organizations’ abilities to respond and adapt to migration crises?
  • What are the roles of nonprofit organizations and/or other civil society actors vis-a-vis the state in migration crises, (perhaps especially in situations where the state itself may have had a role in precipitating the crisis?) 
  • How do nonprofits working in migration crises balance advocacy and service delivery? • What are the humanitarian and social justice implications of nonprofits’ advocacy, governance, or implementation activities?
  • As nonprofits engage in policy advocacy, what is the relationship between strategy and context? What strategies might work in particularly challenging or intractable political contexts? 
  • What is the impact of migration crises (e.g. mass emigration) on nonprofits themselves?

The special issue will be comprised primarily of research articles, but may also include one or more research note, policy brief, commentary, case study, interview, or book review.

We are pleased to announce that a special issue of Nonprofit Policy Forum will be dedicated to the theme of the 11th International ERNOP Conference. Scholars who will present their papers at the 2023 ERNOP conference at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, in which we will focus on the roles that philanthropy in its different forms can play during and after crisis and social upheavals, are invited to submit their full papers for the special issue. The journal is open access and has no publication charges.

Philanthropy plays a key role in times of crisis. Philanthropic initiatives are often the first to engage when a crisis emerges and the last that remain when a crisis ends. Climate change created action by groups in society that were not traditionally considered philanthropic; the COVID crisis already saw the birth of many philanthropic initiatives and the war in Ukraine sparked generosity in Europe that might be – in absolute terms – unprecedented in history. However, at the same time, and within the context of societal upheavals, philanthropy is also criticized for being ineffective, its particularism, its elitism, and even as agents of influence by unwanted entities. Traditional forms of philanthropy are considered outdated by some and replaced by alternative forms like impact investing or informal and ad hoc giving through online and mobile platforms.

Against the background of these crises and developments, we invite papers to take stock not only of the roles that philanthropy in its different forms can play during and after social upheavals, but also of the crisis that certain forms of philanthropy may face. Questions to be addressed in this special issue may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How does philanthropy develop during crises and how can philanthropic behavior be sustained when a crisis fades away? To what extent does this vary depending on individual, organizational or national contexts?
  • How come a societal phenomenon that is defined as ‘private action for the public good’ and literally is translated as ‘love for mankind’ often must deal with negative perceptions in the public opinion?
  • How can philanthropic organizations and initiatives remain better connected with their constituents and societal stakeholders in times of crisis?
  • To what extent is philanthropy able to overcome its shortcomings and can it live up to its potential? What is needed to make philanthropy live up to its potentially catalytic capacities in contexts of societal unrest?
  • What can we learn from history of the role that philanthropy can play in transforming our society to address the crises of tomorrow?
  • What is the relevance of alternative sources of philanthropy like donating data, online volunteering and informal giving platforms and to what extent can this be used by philanthropic organizations in face of the crisis affecting more traditional, predigital forms of giving?

The special issue will be comprised primarily of research articles, but may include one or more research note, policy brief, commentary, case study, interview, or book review.

The journal Nonprofit Policy Forum invites papers for a special issue dedicated to the theme of the 2023 ARNOVA-Asia conference, “The Roles of Nonprofit Organizations for Sustainable Civil Society” The conference will take place virtually from Japan on July 7-8, 2023.
This NPF Special Issue explores the role of nonprofit organizations, civil society, and philanthropy in Asia and welcomes both theoretical and empirical studies from all disciplines with a focus on any of the regions of Asia (West, Central, South, Southeast and East Asia). Questions to be addressed in this special issue may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What roles have nonprofits and/or other civil society actors in Asia played in the policymaking process during this recent – and ongoing – period of pandemic and social justice and economic challenges? How have the unique relationships between nonprofits and the state in Asia affected nonprofits’ roles in the policymaking process?
  • In this recent, difficult period, what has been the impact of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA) on nonprofits’ sustainability and involvement in policymaking, advocacy, and service delivery in Asia? What are the policy implications of nonprofits’ strategic responses to the challenges they have faced?
  • What are recent policies and laws affecting the governance and behaviors of nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in Asia? How do these policies affect the ability of nonprofits and social enterprises to respond to the pandemic and other societal needs?
  • What theoretical perspectives best explain the state of and the policies for the nonprofit sector and civil society in a nation or across nations in Asia?

Please note that submission to this NPF Special Issue is open to all authors addressing the theme regardless of their participation in the ARNOVA-Asia conference this year.
The mission of Nonprofit Policy Forum (NPF) is to serve as an international journal that publishes original research and analysis on public policy issues and the public policy process critical to the work of nonprofit organizations. The journal is open access and has no publication charges. More information about Nonprofit Policy Forum can be found here. All submissions will be peer-reviewed before they are accepted for publication in NPF.

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Links to Previous Special Issues

Lester M. Salamon Memorial Issue, Part II

Edited by Alan J. Abramson, Mirae Kim, Stefan Toepler,

Volume 14 Issue 4, October 2023

Lester M. Salamon Memorial Issue, Part I

Edited by Alan J. Abramson, Mirae Kim, Stefan Toepler,

Volume 14 Issue 3, July 2023

2020 & 2021 Nonprofit Policy Symposia

Edited by Alan Abramson

Volume 14 Issue 2, April 2023

Contested Civic Spaces in Liberal Democracies

Guest Editors: Rupert Graf Strachwitz, Siri Hummel, and Stefan Toepler

Volume 13 Issue 3, July 2022

Government and Civil Society in the Era of COVID-19

Guest Editor: Ágnes Kövér

Volume 12 Issue 1, January 2021

2019 Nonprofit Policy Symposium

Edited by Alan Abramson

Volume 11 Issue 4, December 2020

Philanthropy and Social Impact

Guest Editors: James Ferris and Elizabeth Graddy

Volume 11 Issue 2, July 2020

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