Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Become a Member
Community Search
2020 Conference Theme
Share |





From Climate Change to Social Justice:

How Citizens are Re-Shaping Nonprofits and Philanthropy

in an Age of Disruption and Transition

November 11-13, 2020 | Convened Virtually 


Conference Homepage





 2020 Theme & Call for Proposals







Around the globe, communities are dealing with mounting challenges. Indeed, we now face increasing resource competition, growing ideological divides, and quite simply a seemingly never-ending fight for what some might call the most fundamental of our basic rights: the right to live. 


Despite the complexity and urgency of these challenges, the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors have often struggled to balance their need(s) for survival with the needs of communities. For instance, although the bulk of environmental and conservation nonprofits in the United States (US) are locally based, specialized in focus, and highly dependent on grants and contributions, less than 2 percent of philanthropic dollars are spent on the fight against climate change. But, what exactly is the responsibility that philanthropic and nonprofit organizations have in protecting our climate? Or, defending the most vulnerable amongst us? Or, even caring for those who may be less fortunate?


While we ponder these (and similar) questions, citizens both individually and collectively have begun demanding that actions be taken to protect the planet and ensure that we all have equal opportunity to live--and to do so with dignity, justice, equity, and fairness. From Black Live Matters in the United States to the Climate Action protests around the world, citizens have once again (similar to past generations) begun to take charge of their own future.


For our San Diego conference, we called upon the ARNOVA community to grapple with the promises and perils of philanthropy. We invited you to share with us the varied ways that you are working to courageously speak truth to power and how you are pursuing activities that advance missions and values for the common good. In record numbers, you responded. And, the energy behind that response was exciting! 


Therefore, picking up where our San Diego conference leaves off, at ARNOVA’s 49th annual conference, which will take place in Indianapolis, we will build on our efforts to understand the role and responsibility that philanthropy, nonprofits, and civil society have in moving our world forward. In Indianapolis, however, we focus specifically on the role and responsibility of citizens in organizing, mobilizing, and activating their time, talents, and treasures in ways the best serve our collective interests in the fights for climate change and social justice. 


As we gather in Indianapolis, we aim to address a number of pressing questions: To what extent have nonprofit, philanthropic, and civil society organizations responded to citizens’ demands for action to address the climate crisis? How are we preparing and responding to a world that has quite possibly reached its climate threshold? In what ways have community-oriented and participatory approaches to the work that we do re-shaped the values of our organizations? What role have the arts and creative endeavors played in framing the narratives associated with philanthropic action around climate change and social justice? How can the voluntary efforts of individuals (both individually and collectively) lead to tangible and lasting change in the myriad systemic and institutional systems that have resulted in disruption and transition in all of our lives?




Proposal Submission Tracks


Conference Theme

What roles do nonprofits have in addressing climate change and social justice?How do nonprofits operate as forces that ameliorate or exacerbate issues of social justice and/or climate change? What role(s) does philanthropy have in changing environmental, political, economic, and social landscapes?


NEW: Special Track on Covid-19
How has/did COVID-19 affect the finances and service delivery efforts of nonprofits? In what ways can nonprofits deal (and are nonprofits dealing) with the aftermath? How has/did philanthropy and philanthropic institutions react to the outbreak of COVID-19? How have/did/will the pandemic change the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors?


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 when grappling with issues of climate change and social justice? 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.




Types of Submissions


Proposals can be for Individual Papers, Panels (pre-arranged) of 3-4 papers, Lightning Research Roundtables (pre-arranged 5-7 presenters with facilitator), Colloquia (3-4 presenters with discussant) or Posters.


Submissions by practitioners and doctoral students engaged in research are also welcome. Panels, Roundtables and Colloquia should (as a rule) involve people from multiple institutions.


The new deadline for non-member and member submissions is 11:59 PM EST, April 27, 2020

To view guidelines for submission or submit a proposal, click on “Submit a Proposal



Questions can be directed to the ARNOVA office at (317) 684-2120, or to








more Calendar

7/11/2020 » 11/14/2020
Exhibitor Registration - 2020 ARNOVA Conference

Webinar: The Covid-19 Crisis and Civil Society: The Situation in Europe

Online Surveys

The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) is a diverse community of scholars, educators, and practice leaders that strengthens the field of nonprofit and philanthropic research in order to improve civil society and human life.

441 W. Michigan St. | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Phone: 317.684.2120 | Fax: 317.684.2128
2014 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Membership Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal