Dennis R. Young

Editor’s Note: Issue 6(3)

Open Access
De Gruyter | Published online: October 29, 2015

Organizational alliances, executive leadership, legal structures, international law, philanthropy, and moral and political capital are all part of the interface between nonprofits and public policy studied in the papers of this issue. We begin with two articles that examine aspects of the advocacy process through which nonprofits influence public policy. The first article by Margaret Post addresses the mobilization and impact of grassroots coalitions that help provide marginal groups with access to the policy arena. One of Post’s contributions is the development of a set of metrics for gauging the success of multi-organizational alliances, including indicators of effectiveness, inter-organizational dynamics and intra-organizational development. The second paper, by Dyana Mason, examines nonprofit advocacy from a leadership perspective. In particular, she discovers that the personal political ideology of nonprofit leaders has a discernible effect on an organization’s advocacy activity, including the intentional engagement with policy issues and the tactics used in advocacy efforts.

The next two papers examine compliance of nonprofit organizations to requirements of the legal structures in which they operate. In particular, our third paper by Robert Shillito asks why many countries exhibit low levels of compliance with international standards intended to thwart terrorist financing through nonprofit organizations. The author finds that the Financial Action Task Force responsible for overseeing compliance faces multiple implementation and developmental challenges but that compliance is likely to improve over time. The fourth paper by Norman Silber and John Wei examines the use of offshore blocker corporations that some nonprofits use to avoid paying debt-financed unrelated business income tax. While the authors do not find this behavior improper they recommend reform of the law to improve transparency and efficiency of nonprofit investments.

Our fifth article by Amaral Nogueira, Mario Aquino Alves and Patricia Maria Emerenciano de Mendonca demonstrates the important influence of U.S. philanthropy on the human rights NGO sector in Brazil. The authors argue that Human Rights NGOs are especially important in Brazil, which continues to face many social, political and human rights challenges. Moreover, this subsector is highly dependent on U.S. philanthropy and is at risk of collapse should support of major U.S. foundations be withdrawn.

In our Feature section we offer a case study and two book reviews. The comparative case study by Ying Xu assesses the strengths and weaknesses of two different nonprofit environmental protection organizations in China, one that is government-organized and another which was independently established at the grassroots. The author finds that these two kinds of nonprofits differ in the political capital and moral resources they can bring to bear in their environmental advocacy work. She finds the two types of environmental nonprofits to be complementary and offers four policy recommendations to enhance their roles in evaluating the environmental performance of local governments and to help grassroots NGOs register with the government and gain funding.

We conclude the issue with reviews of two recent books with important policy implications, internationally and in the U.S. The first review by Janelle Kerlin Bassett discusses Julie Fisher’s latest volume Importing Democracy: The Role of NGOs in South Africa, Tajikistan and Argentina, a book which analyzes how political context influences what NGOs can do to promote democracy, even under authoritarian regimes. The second, by yours truly, reviews a new book by Laurie Mook, John Whitman, Jack Quarter and Ann Armstrong entitled Understanding the Social Economy of the United States, which offers a framework that reconciles the competing analytical paradigms of the social economy and the nonprofit sector for purposes of policy development as well as research and management practice.

We hope you enjoy this robust issue

Published Online: 2015-10-29
Published in Print: 2015-11-1

©2015 by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.