An Exploration of Resilient Nonprofit Organizations: How Human Services Providers in Virginia Survived and Thrived the Great Recession of 2007-2009
Fyffe, Saunji Desiree
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Nonprofits are primarily dependent upon external sources for funding and other critical resources; therefore during recessionary periods the nonprofit sector faces a crisis of its own as crucial resources become scarce. The Great Recession of 2007-2009 had widespread adverse impact on the nonprofit sector yet, some nonprofit organizations managed to not only restore their finances and operations to their pre-recession state, but also capitalize on the economic conditions and emerge stronger and more prosperous than before the recession began. Specifically, these organizations embody resiliency by realizing positive outcomes or exhibiting optimal performance during and after tough economic times. In the face of increasing demands, shifting funding streams, and operational challenges, organizational resilience is more important than ever for the sector. The purpose of this research was to develop a better understanding of the nature of organizational resiliency as it relates to nonprofits impacted by economic recession. The primary research question that directed this research was: What attributes are exhibited by resilient nonprofit organizations? Using a multiple case study approach, this study explored the essence and meaning of resilience through the experiences of seven nonprofit organizations in Virginia during and after the recession. Data were collected from pertinent organizational documents and semi-structured interviews with the executive director of each organization. Nine themes emerged from the data. Conclusions drawn from the findings suggest that resilient nonprofit organizations exhibit: positive disposition toward change; flexibility; timely and responsive decision making; deep social capital; intra and inter-organizational relationships; effective leadership; diverse revenue streams; sufficient assets, systems and infrastructure; and shared mission, goals and strategy.
- Doctoral Dissertations