The Nascent Nonprofit Organization—What Happens Before a Nonprofit Is Born?

The gestation of nonprofit organizations remains a relatively under researched area—in part because it is hard to identify a nascent nonprofit organization. While there appears to be growing scholarly interest in trying to better understand the earliest phases of nonprofit life, to date the only thing we know is that we don’t know much.

This article is organized around a number of observations of the nascent stage, based on my own research and work with nonprofit start-ups as well as on findings from the entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship literature. My hope is that these observations will serve as an entry point for discussion and debate, and stimulate further research focusing on nonprofit emergence.

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