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ARNOVA has hosted Symposiums on Public Policy for Nonprofits. We are grateful to the Bill and Melinda Gates, C. S. Mott and Kresge Foundations for their support to this important initiative. The Symposiums bring together scholars, practitioners and policy makers to develop a research agenda on the influence of public policy and nonprofits. Below are links to the reports to past Symposiums.


2020 2019201820172016




2020 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits


Reports Coming Soon


2019 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits


The July 2019 policy symposium, which was jointly sponsored by ARNOVA and Independent Sector, brought together 35 nonprofit researchers and nonprofit leaders in Washington, DC to hear short presentations and engage in discussion about a variety of proposals that the nonprofit sector may want to promote to policymakers...


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2018 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits

In December 2018, ARNOVA, in partnership with the organization Independent Sector, brought together 35 nonprofit researchers and nonprofit leaders to discuss several issues of broad interest including:  1) the possibility of developing an index of health of the nonprofit sector; 2) oversight of the nonprofit sector; 3) policy toward donor-advised funds; and 4) prospects for deepening researcher-sector leader collaboration.  Symposium sessions on each of these issues included kickoff comments by experts in the field followed by open discussion among all meeting participants; no formal papers were delivered.  Lewis Faulk’s summary of the kickoff comments and open discussion on all four issues is available through the link below.


Download Summary Report, including Key Takeaways, by Lewis Faulk

2017 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits


Toward an Index of a Healthy, U.S. Nonprofit Sector


ARNOVA’s 2017 policy symposium, which was organized in collaboration with the organization Independent Sector, focused on the idea of a health index, or indices, for the U.S. nonprofit sector.  Participants were invited to develop short, concept papers addressing a broad range of issues related to a nonprofit health index.  Selected researchers presented their papers at the Independent Sector annual conference in Detroit, Michigan in October 2017 and then again at ARNOVA’s annual conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan in November 2017.  An introduction and four papers were then published in the October 2018 issue of the open access journal Nonprofit Policy Forum that interested readers can access by following the link below.


Download Articlesfrom Nonprofit Policy Forum, volume 9, issue 3 (October 2018)


2016 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits


For the fifth year in succession, the Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) is planning to convene a seminar to present cutting-edge research on public policy as it pertains to nonprofit organizations and philanthropy. Each annual seminar has brought together researchers from the world of academia, think tanks, research centers, and nonprofit organizations representing practitioners. The 2016 Symposium was held on Tuesday, November 15th in conjunction with the annual ARNOVA research conference to be held in Washington, DC at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.


Download Summary & Key Takeawaysby Lewis Faulk


2015 ARNOVA Fourth Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits


On Wednesday, May 13th ARNOVA held its Fourth Annual Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., made possible by the The Kresge Foundation.


The Symposium brought together policy makers and nonprofit academics, researchers, and practitioners to discuss key issues and opportunities in nonprofit policy. A complete report of the research briefs presented will be available for download on the ARNOVA website later this year.


Download Key Takeaways by Lewis Faulk and Mandi Stewart
Download Report by Rick Cohen
Nonprofit Policy ForumSpecial Issue

2013ARNOVA Third Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits

State and Local Government Regulation of Nonprofits


This report echoes the importance placed on research in this area by scholars, nonprofit state coalition leaders and policymakers. It begins with a discussion of state regulation of nonprofits; identifies themes for research; and concludes with ideas for ensuring that the research gets done. Made possible by the Kresge Foundation. 



2011The Finances of Nonprofits and Public Policy

What Do We Need to Know – and Change – to Do Better?

A report from ARNOVA’s Symposium held in June 2011 with leading scholars, practice-leaders, policy makers and regulators who are experts on the nonprofit sector and public policy. The report describes the questions, discussions, and findings of their examination of the challenges now facing nonprofits in the realm of public policy, especially as they pertain to the financing of nonprofits presently and in the future. The report outlines an agenda for research needed to develop a better understanding these challenges and issues.  



2010 Public Policy for Nonprofits

A Report on ARNOVA’s Symposium of October 2010

An examination of key questions and issues involving the public policy environment for nonprofits; and a conversation about the research needed to create better policies in order to shape and sustain more vital institutions to meet social needs and support civil society in the years to come.



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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.

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