How to Activate Nonprofit Beneficiaries for Community Resilience?

Dr. William A. Brown, The Bush School, Texas A&M University
Dr. William Brown

Dr. William A. Brown
Professor and Director
Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy
Holder of the Mary Julia & George Jordan Professorship
The Bush School of Government & Public Service
Texas A&M University

How to Activate Nonprofit Beneficiaries for Community Resilience? Examining the Role of Risk Perception and Evaluation of Nonprofit Services on Prosocial Behavior in the Context of Natural Hazards

Hyunseok Hwang, R. Patrick Bixler, William A. Brown, and Arnold Vedlitz
Sociological Spectrum
, Volume 44, 2024 – Issue 1

Nonprofit organizations serve an essential role in response to natural hazards by delivering services to affected communities and those in need. However, little is known about the drivers of nonprofit-resident engagement during and aftermath of emergencies. Utilizing survey data collected in Austin, Texas, the authors address this gap by analyzing how beneficiaries of nonprofit services become donors and/or volunteers. Specifically, this study empirically analyzes how risk awareness and perceived nonprofit responsiveness and satisfaction (i.e., evaluation of services) influence beneficiaries’ donation and volunteering during and after natural hazards. This relationship between risk awareness, evaluation of nonprofit services, and prosocial behaviors is understudied but extremely salient in the context of the expanding role of nonprofits on the frontlines of increasing frequency and duration of extreme weather events. The results indicate that the mediating role of citizens’ evaluation of nonprofit services in the relationship between risk awareness and prosocial behavior is evident, despite the lack of significant direct effects of risk awareness on prosocial behavior.

This study offers new perspectives to understanding the co-production of nonprofit services and mobilizing community resources to prepare, respond, and recover from climate impacts and informs ongoing conversations in urban sociology and the sociology of disaster.

William A. Brown is a professor at the Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University and holds the Mary Julia and George Jordan Professorship. He serves as the Director of the Center for Nonprofits and Philanthropy. He teaches Nonprofit Management, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Human Resource Management, and Capstone courses. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Northeastern University with a concentration in Human Services. He earned his Master’s and Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. He has worked with numerous organizations in the direct provision of services, consulting, and board governance. He served on the board of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) from 2007-2012 and chaired the Education Committee from 2009-2011. His research focuses on nonprofit governance, strategy, and organizational effectiveness. He has authored numerous research articles, technical reports, and several practice-oriented publications. Examples of his work include exploring the association between board and organizational performance and developing the concept of mission attachment. Publication outlets include Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, International Journal of Volunteer Administration, and Public Performance and Management Review. He has completed an edited volume entitled Nonprofit Governance: Innovative Perspectives and Approaches (Routledge, July 2013) with Chris Cornforth. A textbook entitled Strategic Management in Nonprofit Organizations was published in March 2014 (Jones & Bartlett).