VOLUNTAS News & Calls

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Deadline Extended to May 15: Call for papers [VOLUNTAS]: Researching the Third Sector

Since we announced the call, we have received a large volume of quality submissions. Although we are happy with the volume of submissions and expect more submissions nearing the deadline, we still decide to extend the deadline for the reason stated below.

We have noticed gender imbalance in the submissions thus far. It could be coincidence but there have been multiple reports that suggest "COVID-19 is tanking women's research productivity," and early journal submission data support such patterns (see https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/04/21/early-journal-submission-data-suggest-covid-19-tanking-womens-research-productivity?fbclid=IwAR3EJRp1vZwp624E4g8rF_Ca8Xrl-HTeA-4EoFdRyDOVJQdwRQWyeuk1FyQ and https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01135-9?fbclid=IwAR2bN5LBsF2padqKef1NWp9OXIhjDas0Wiyfr2KwZ_PwUk0ESmRcE4qUt5A). 

As this special issue intends to reflect the broad diversity of research in our field, we want to offer support to our colleagues who are disproportionately affected by the Pandemic. That said, the new deadline for submission of abstracts is May 15th. The rest of the timeline will stay the same.

Updated Timeline:

May 15, 2020: Submission of abstracts to themed issue guest editor

June 1, 2020: Selected authors receive an invite to submit a full manuscript

October 15, 2020: Submission of 4000-5000-word documents (including citations) to themed issue guest editors.

January 5, 2020: Papers reviewed by themed issue guest editors and returned to authors with feedback.

March 1, 2021: Authors revise their papers for blind peer review and submit directly to VOLUNTAS.  


Researching the Third Sector: Approaches, Methods, and Applications

Open Call for a Special Issue to VOLUNTAS

Guest Editors:

Mirae Kim, PhD.

Assistant Professor

Department of Public Management and Policy

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Georgia State University, USA


Paloma Raggo, PhD.

Assistant Professor

Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership

School of Public Policy and Administration

Carleton University, Canada

Please send abstracts between 300 to 400 words no later than May 1, 2020 to voluntas.method@gmail.com. Please see submission and guidelines in attachment.

Full paper submissions for initial review by guest editors will be due October 15, 2020.

The methodological toolbox of researchers investigating the third sector is diverse in terms of epistemologies, approaches, academic traditions, fundamental assumptions, methods, and practice. However, our conversations and debates often focus on the results of our studies, not the research processes behind the findings. There is an increasing demand for greater transparency in research processes and decisions from peer reviewers, editors, funding agencies, institutional review boards, students, organizations we partner with, and other stakeholders involved in the research endeavor. With this increased demand for greater research accountability, scholars have been asked to justify their methodologies in the research they publish. Yet, there are very few methodological articles published about the process of researching the third sector, its challenges, and implications despite the centrality of methodology for published and peer reviewed research.

In this themed issue, interested contributors are invited to think about the methods, research processes, and challenges specific to the study of the third sector. The ideal final contribution would be between 4000 to 5000 words including citations. It would narrow down to one particular research issue, theme, method, or approach. Please refer to the detailed calls for guidelines.

Contributions should reflect the broad diversity of research in our field. Scholars studying a broad range of organizations, people, and critical issues are invited to contribute. Some of the research focus could include (but is not limited to): grassroots organizations, governance research, leadership, fundraising, volunteerism, activism, nonprofit organizations, civil society organizations, international nongovernmental organizations, foundations, philanthropists, volunteerism, and the social economy.

Contributions can include but are not limited to the following methodological themes:

•Access to data

•Archival research

•Big data analysis

•Case study research

•Coding (qualitative and/or quantitative)

•Content analysis

•Data standards

•Defining the unit of analysis

•Ethical research

•Ethnographic research

•Experiments (Natural, Lab, Quasi, Survey)

•Feminist Research

•Images and visual data

•Interpretive approaches


•Levels of analysis issues

•Machine learning

•Measurement issues/challenges

•Mixed-method research designs

•Participatory research

•Qualitative data software

•Qualitative interviewing

•Quantitative analysis/large datasets

•Social Media data analysis


•Textual analysis (manual and automated)

•Transparency in research

Feel free to contact voluntas.method@gmail.com   if you have any questions regarding a potential contribution to this themed issue.

Abstract submission guidelines:

•Include email and corresponding address (not included in word count)

•Title of the paper

•300-400 word abstract (not including citations)

•Abstract should clearly address the three essential aspects as discussed above.

•Please submit in a word document and include your last name in the document’s name (example:Lastname_methodspiece.docx)

•Include in the subject of your email: Voluntas Method themed issue



•May 1, 2020: Submission of abstracts to themed issue guest editor

•June 1, 2020: Selected authors receive an invite to submit a full manuscript

•October 15, 2020: Submission of 4000-5000-word documents (including citations) to themed issue guest editors.

•January 5, 2020: Papers reviewed by themed issue guest editors and returned to authors with feedback.

•March 1, 2021: Authors revise their papers for blind peer review and submit directly to VOLUNTAS.


Call for a Special Issue to Voluntas: Paradoxes within the Management of Volunteers

Subject: Call for a Special Issue to Voluntas: Paradoxes within the Management of Volunteers

Call for a Special Issue to Voluntas: Paradoxes within the Management of Volunteers


Guest Editors:

Anders la Cour, Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark (corresponding guest editor)

Nina Eliasoph, Professor at University of Southern California, USA

Lesley Hustinx, Associate Professor at University of Gent, Belgium


The study of paradoxes has once again become fashionable in the studies of organizations and management. Leading journals within the field have devoted special issues on the topic, and central scholars have discussed the concept’s analytical relevance. This special issue will build on a broadly defined concept of “paradox,” and will use it as an important tool for understanding the interactional tensions that are specific for the management of volunteers. See the attached full call. 


Proposal for deadlines:

Abstract submissions due: August 15, 2020 (between 400 and 700 words, send to Anders la Cour, email: al.mpp@cbs.dk)

Full paper submissions due: January 30, 2021



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.

To read the full call, click here.



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 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11266-016-9


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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