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ERNOP Special Issue of Voluntas

Philanthropy in the spotlight?
Achievements, Limitations, Opportunities and Risks

Full paper submissions due: December 15th 2019

Guest editors: Marta Rey-García (School of Economics and Business, University of A Coruña (UDC), Spain), Georg von Schnurbein (Center for Philanthropy Studies (CEPS), University of Basel, Switzerland), Michaela Neumayr (Institute for Nonprofit Management, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria)

The European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP) is pleased to announce that a special issue of Voluntas will be dedicated to the theme of the 9th international ERNOP conference 2019. Scholars are invited to submit their full papers for the special issue, in which we will focus on achievements but also limitations of philanthropy. Furthermore, the opportunities and risks for philanthropy to address new societal issues or to tackle them in innovative ways will be explored.

In recent years, the public profile of philanthropy has increased. Across Europe (and beyond) philanthropic actors take the lead in addressing societal issues and the contribution of philanthropy is being (re)discovered by public actors. Nevertheless, at the same time, expectations about the resources and achievements of philanthropy may pale in the face of public welfare. The advancement of knowledge about the theory and practice of philanthropy has evidenced its achievements as much as it has unveiled its limitations. While philanthropy is not a new phenomenon, its heightened visibility has raised questions about the background and motives of philanthropic organizations and donors, the place of philanthropy within (European) welfare states, the relationship of philanthropy to other actors that aim to solve societal issues and/or put issues on the societal agenda, and the impact of philanthropy in society. New methods or models such as impact investing or political agenda setting push the boundaries of philanthropy further and fuel discussions of legitimacy. Digital transformation is influencing all actors involved in philanthropy and their relationships, from donors to volunteers. Philanthropy may not only tackle new digital threats, such as those to privacy or democracy, but also take advantage of the opportunities of becoming digital. An increase in visibility seems to call for more transparency and a better understanding of the achievements, limitations, opportunities and risks of philanthropy: we should look the philanthropic gift horse in the mouth.

We invite scholars from various disciplines sharing a motivation to discuss the achievements of philanthropy in the present day, and to generate new questions about how philanthropy might develop in the future. Scholars are especially encouraged to submit papers addressing questions related to the reputation of philanthropic organizations, including issues such as transparency and legitimation, papers addressing questions related to democratic aspects of philanthropy, such as power exerted due to philanthropic activities, papers addressing limitations of philanthropic achievements in regard of solving societal (social) issues, and papers exploring opportunities and risks for the future (new problems and new methods). More theory-oriented, conceptual papers on the opportunities and limitations of philanthropy research are also welcome. In doing so, the special issue aims to also discuss the less bright side of philanthropy.

Authors are requested to submit their manuscripts directly in the Springer system; be sure to indicate that the paper being submitted is part of the Special Issue: 'Philanthropy in the spotlight’ in the submission questionnaire.




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

Best Paper Award 2017

Is My Volunteer Job Not Real Work? The Experiences of Migrant Women with Finding Employment Through Volunteer Work

by Thomas Kampen and Jasmijn Slootjes



Best Paper Award 2016

How Civil Society Organizations Foster Insurgent Citizenship: Lessons from the Brazilian Landless Movement

by Lehn Benjamin and Abdulrazak Karriem

Voluntas Best Paper Awards, 2016 & 2017
by Patricia Mendonça 

Dear ISTR community,

It is with joy that we communicate the winners of the Voluntas Best Paper Award 2016/2017

The award aims to give visibility to the academic publication of the ISTR, the renowned journal Voluntas, reference in the field of studies of third sector and civil society and its related themes.

Voluntas stands out by welcoming a thematic and geographical diversity of works. Diversity was also reflected in the award criteria and in the formation of the evaluation committee.

In the period 2016/2017 Voluntas had a significant increase in published papers, being, 129 papers in 2016 and 118 papers in 2017. This represented an additional challenge for the Committee's choice, given the many high-level papers found and the diversity of their themes.

The evaluation process had several rounds of readings and rankings. We present below the winners of this cycle. As chair of the best paper committee I leave my big thank you to our ISTR volunteer members, who offered their valuable time, knowledge and effort to this task: Thomas Adam (USA), Frederick Claeye (France), Lorena Cortes (Mexico), Armine Ishkanian ( UK), Mary Zhou (Hong Kong), Jenny Paturyan (Armenia), Lili Wang (USA) and Hilary Yerbury (Australia).

VOLUNTAS: Editor's Choice

Nonprofits are collective endeavors that supply a bewildering range of products and services, including some of value to their immediate members only. Many also advocate policy positions on issues of direct interest to themselves, their clients and beneficiaries, and/or the broader community. There is substantial variation in their advocacy strategies, the scope of policy goals they embrace, and the types of individuals they engage in such activities. Consequently, there are also differences in whether and how nonprofit advocacy activities reduce inequalities, enhance civic participation, and promote deliberative democracy. This symposium interprets and theorizes about emerging nonprofit challenges by showcasing research of nonprofit advocacy and civic engagement scholars. Collectively, the papers demonstrate the vibrancy of the field of nonprofit civic engagement and advocacy and identify important areas for future research to capture the complexity of nonprofits as actors guided by both instrumental and normative goals, serving organizational and social missions, and reducing some types of inequalities but creating new ones.

To learn more, please visit


VOLUNTAS: Open Access Articles

VOLUNTAS: Be sure to read open access articles, which can be found at…

The current issue of VOLUNTAS offers open access for:

'Grassroots Environmental Activism in an Authoritarian Context: The Trees Movement in Vietnam' 

'Social Marketisation and Policy Influence of Third Sector Organisations: Evidence from the UK'

'Peruvian Grassroots Organizations in Times of Violence and Peace. Between Economic Solidarity, Participatory Democracy, and Feminism'


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