A Conference for Practitioners and Researchers


Convened by

The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership

Bloch School of Management at the

University of Missouri – Kansas City


The Nonprofit Quarterly


April 4-5, 2013

Embassy Suite on the Country Club Plaza

Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.


Call for Conference Papers
(Deadline for receipt of paper proposals is December 17, 2012)

The Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership and The Nonprofit Quarterly are pleased to announce the 2013 Nonprofit Governance Conference. Over the last decade we have witnessed many events and changes that have affected the pace and scope of the nonprofit sector. The financial turmoil in previous years crated new problems but also generated new solutions.   The Conference theme – Critical Conversations on the Future of Nonprofit Governance – not only reflects the growing interest we observe in various governance related issues across the globe but also challenges practitioners and researchers to consider from multiple perspectives the emerging shape of governance and board work as we move forward.  

Research on nonprofit boards and governance has developed substantially in the past decade, and important insights have emerged as scholars and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines and fields are providing rigorous and new knowledge about governance and boards. Significant progress notwithstanding, practitioners and scholars alike continue to find it a challenge to understand the complex and changing nature of nonprofit governance and the boards that engage in it. We welcome and invite papers that focus on any aspects of nonprofit governance and boards, including governance of public-benefit charities, grant-making foundations, associations, and social enterprises.  We accept papers that are empirical, papers that are conceptual, and prescriptive papers that are based on theory and research.

Here are some of the broad topics we hope to explore at this year’s conference:

  • Social Entrepreneurship and Governance
    Boards of nonprofit organizations are mandated to behave as prudent stewards of resources, yet they also are exhorted to become more entrepreneurial and take new kinds of risks.  How are boards responding, and what are the implications of such expectations for boards and the practice of governance? Is there such a thing as socially entrepreneurial governance?
  • Advances of Information Technology and Governance
    How are emerging technologies and information systems advances affecting governance systems and the ways they work?  Are social media and social networking technologies changing the dynamics of governance?  What are the short-and long-term effects of new technology on key governance functions such as fiduciary responsibility, oversight and accountability?
  • Hybrid Structures and Innovations in Governance
    New and unique forms of organization and organized action are being developed, including various forms of networks and other distributed systems of service delivery, and there are many questions about how these evolving forms of organization are being led and governed. As nonprofit and for-profit forms of enterprise continue to blend, what are we learning about social enterprise governance that might help us understand the similarities and differences of governance for each?
  • Nonprofit and Public Sector Governance
    What are we learning about important differences and similarities, and what should we be studying as we examine governance in the public sector and in the nonprofit sector? How can we connect research on ‘‘external governance’’ i.e. the processes through which societies are governed, and “internal governance” i.e. the governance of organizations in society, and what key questions emerge at the intersection of external and internal governance? Are there overarching frameworks or models that might be useful to help us understand governance across all sector and levels ?
  • Power, Influence and Inclusion
    Who really governs nonprofit organizations? What actors in and around nonprofits have the power to influence governance and with what consequences? What are we learning about the implications of having more or less inclusive governance arrangements and systems in place?
  • The Future of Research on Nonprofit Boards and Governance
    As we identify and work to understand all of these kinds of challenges and dynamics, are we developing new research models or methods that are better suited to the next generation of governance research? 


These topics illustrate many (though certainly not all) of the kinds of questions and issues that are relevant to the 2013 conference. 

The deadline for receipt of proposals is December 17, 2012.  Proposals should be no more than 3 pages.  For empirical papers, proposals will include a statement of the problems or issues to be considered, an overview of the relevant literature, a statement of the methods used and a summary of the results or likely results.  Proposals for conceptual papers should also be no more than 3 pages and should include a statement of the problems or issues to be considered, an overview of the relevant literature, and a statement of the thesis or theses to be developed and how these add to our understanding of nonprofit organizational governance.  Proposals will be peer-reviewed and authors notified of acceptance on January 15, 2013.  Please note that at least one author of an accepted paper must register for and attend the conference to present the paper.

Proposals should be sent to Review Coordinator, Fredrik O. Andersson. They may be sent as email attachments to: [email protected] or mailed to the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, The Bloch School, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64110-2499.  Proposals also may be faxed to 816-235-5727.

About the Conference

This highly participative conference will employ the Midwest Center model that has been so successful for previous academic-practitioner conferences.  It serves as a relatively intimate gathering of those who are serious about sharing and shaping governance ideas and learning, and it will offer multiple opportunities for formal and informal discussion and dialogue among the consultants, executives, and academics who are most engaged in addressing these challenges.  A key element of the conference is sharing highlights and insights emerging from recent governance research.  Equally valuable are the opportunities to build on and go beyond the theory and research – for experienced leaders who are exploring new and innovative strategies and approaches in their communities and organizations to share their perspectives in facilitated and informal discussions.  Half of the conference sessions will be facilitated (non-presentation) dialogue sessions, each focused on a specific issue or interest.  

The conference begins at on Thursday morning, April 4, 2013, and runs through early afternoon on April 5.  Conference and lodging will be at the Embassy Suites on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO.  Questions about the conference may be directed to conference co-directors, Dave Renz ([email protected]) or Brent Never ([email protected]).