The Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations & Voluntary Actions has released the report on its October 2010 Symposium on Public Policy for Nonprofits. Cindy Lott, State AG Program Senior Counsel, attended the invitation-only meeting to discuss the contours and impact of state regulation as they relate to the four overarching questions around which the conference was based:
- What are the most critical policy issues facing the nonprofit sector now?
- Given the limitations of existing research and knowledge, what reliable claims can be made about the positive or negative impacts—present or expected—of current and past policies on nonprofits?
- What is the current state of knowledge about the design and impact of public policies for nonprofits? What are the obvious—or maybe not so obvious, but still important—gaps in our knowledge? Where do we have the data we need for a useful analysis of these issues? What data are we clearly missing?
- How should we frame research on these issues to generate new insights and “immediately usable knowledge” to develop better policies?
The conference convened individuals from a wide range of professional backgrounds and academic disciplines, including the heads of state nonprofit associations, university-based scholars, researchers and analysts from non-profit think tanks and national associations, and others. The primary product of the Symposium was a “Proposed Research Agenda” identifying areas of inquiry where new research is needed. The full report is available for free to ARNOVA members or for purchase at http://www.arnova.org/
Following on the 2010 symposium, ARNOVA will hold a special colloquium at its 2011 Conference and will be seeking out partnerships with other organizations to continue and extend engagement within the academic research community around the role of nonprofits in public policy.