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Annual Report 2015
Click here to read the ISTR 2014 Report
Click here to read the ISTR 2013 Report
Click here to read the ISTR 2012 Report

Regional Network Research Conferences 

Latin American and the Caribbean Regional Conference 

The 10th ISTR Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) conference was held in Puerto Rico in August 2015.  The theme was “Inequaltiy, Inclusion and Social Innovation.”  A collaborative effort brought together three leading higher education institutions - Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, Universidad Católica de Puerto Rico in Ponce, and Universidad de Puerto Rico, as well as two municipal governments of San Juan and Ponce and the Puerto Rico Community Foundation to host the LAC conference.

Twenty-two panels and ninety five presentations were selected on topics including social inequality, citizen participation, sustainability, social innovation, democracy, accountability and social entrepreneurship.  Attendees included nearly 120 participants from 20 countries and joined the inaugural ceremony that included the three university presidents which highlighted the importance of third sector studies and the centrality  nongovermental organizations have acquired in contemporary Puerto Rico.    Professor Marcia Rivera, a Puerto Rican sociologist, delivered the keynote address on her concerns about social and economic inequality and the challenges inequality poses on third sector institutions and researchers. To read the full conference report, click here.


Asia Pacific Regional Conference 

The 9th ISTR Asia Pacific Regional Conference was held in Tokyo, Japan on August 26-28, 2015, hosted by Nihon University College of Law.  The conference was attended by over 130 participants with 100 paper presentations and 3 panel sessions which addressed topics around the third sector, including:  governance and laws, tax regime, policy impact and evaluation, wellbeing, welfare systems, social capital, corporate social responsibility, fundraising, government and politics, public private partnership, environment, sustainability, and social enterprise.  Professor Yutaka Tsujinaka of Tsukuba University, a political scientist, gave the keynote address about the role of civil society in local governance from unique and critical perspectives. The plenary featured, Mr. Katusji Imata, board chair of CSO Network Japan, who addressed “Working across sectors for a transformative shift:  New narrative in civil society for the Asia Pacific and the globe.”  To read the full conference report, click here.


African Regional Network Conference

The 3rd ISTR Africa Network Conference was planned for October in Accra, Ghana, but was rescheduled for 2016.  The theme “Civil Society and a Renascent Africa:  A Stock Taking,” resulted in 32 paper acceptances following a blind peer review process.  The Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana and West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) will host the meeting. To read the full conference report, click here.


12th International Conference, Stockholm, Sweden

The Call for Contributions for the 12th International Conference, to be held 28 June to 1 July 2016 at Ersta Skondal University College in Stockholm, Sweden was widely distributed.  The response to the call was excellent and we received over 800 paper abstracts, panels, posters and roundtable tables.  The roundtables are a new addition which allows presentations without academic peer reviews.  The board will evaluate the roundtables following the conference.  A blind peer review process with reviewers took place in November and December. 

The conference theme is “The Third Sector in Transition: Accountability, Transparency, and Social Inclusion.”  Professor Theda Skocpol, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University and Director of the Scholars Strategy Network, will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday, June 29th

A second keynote will be given by Professor Stanley Katz, who will be the recipient of the Inaugural ISTR Lecture Prize.  This lecture has been established by the Society to honor a member who has made a significant contribution to the field of Third Sector Research. 

A third plenary session will be organized by our host institution and focus on the sector in Scandinavia. 


2014 Award for Best Article in Voluntas

The Best Article in Voluntas Committee was established and reviewed the articles for 2014.  The committee is chaired by Julie Fisher Melton (USA) and Gonzalo de la Maza (Chile); Katalin Dobrai (Hungary); Jenny Harrow (UK); Jiri Navratil (Czech Republic); Aya Okada (Japan); Ali Simsek (Turkey); Armindo Teodosio (Brazil); and Peter Weber (USA).

This award is now announced annually for the outstanding paper in VOLUNTAS that contributes to the field of civil society, third sector, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, voluntarism and related issues.  

The 2014 award was given to Urs P. Jäger and Andreas Schröer for their article, Integrated Organizational Identity: A Definition of Hybrid Organizations and a Research Agenda.  We are very pleased that our publisher, Springer, has agreed to provide open access to the article for a number of months following the award announcement. 

To learn more, please click here.


Voluntas continued its growth with 110 articles in 2015.  The ranking of the journal continues to increase and its now ranked number 20 of 39 social issues journals. The editorial search committee concluded its work with selecting co-editors, Ruth Simsa and Taco Brandsen for a term of three years beginning January 1, 2016.  Ruth Simsa is Professor at the Institute for Sociology and Empirical Social Research of Vienna University of Economics and Business.  Taco Brandsen is Professor of Comparative Public Administration at Radboud University Nijmegen.  The newly appointed editors will focus on increasing the journal’s contribution to strengthening the academic standing of the Society and the scientific development of the field of Third Sector Research.  Their mission is to continue a high degree of pluralism, both in disciplinary and regional aspects.  The Editorial Selection Committee was chaired by Adalbert Evers (Germany), Ann Dill (USA), Bernard Enjolras (Norway), Brenda Gainer (Canada) and Alberto Hernandez (Mexico).    


Affinity Group on Research on Volunteering

An affinity group on Research on Volunteering was established and a list serve was started. The formation of this affinity group results from an increasing interest in the distinctive features of research on volunteering, an increased awareness that there is a benefit in connecting the diverse research components in the field, and an increased awareness that stronger efforts must be made to build connections among those carrying out this type of research in all regions of the globe.

This group will be moderated by Jacob Mati, Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji Islands; Research Associate, Society Work and Development Institute (SWOP), The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Jacqueline Butcher de Rivas, Director of the Center for the Investigation and Study of Civil Society, at the Tecnológico de Monterrey, Escuela de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales, in Mexico City; Bev Russell, CEO and founder, Social Surveys Africa, South Africa; and Megan Haddock, International Research Projects Manager, The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. The group will meet for the first time in Stockholm.


2015 Membership Survey

A membership survey was conducted in 2015 to gather information about member’s perspectives regarding the Society to provide critical input for planning and development.  The high rate of members satisfied with ISTR: 82% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the work of ISTR, and only 1% reported being dissatisfied.  As well, 86% reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their ISTR membership.  The most important reasons respondents listed for choosing to be members of ISTR are opportunities for networking and sharing results, access to Voluntas and staying informed about the profession. 



The 2014/2015 membership cycle concluded with 830 member from 76 counties.  Membership for the next two year cycle will be required for all international conference attendees.  This has been the practice for regional network conferences and will now be extended to the 2016 International conference. 


2015 Membership Survey




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2015 Financial

Our 2015 reporting on revenue and expenses are displayed in the charts below.  



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