We are not bad: Nonprofit communications after a scandal

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Presented at the 61st annual Western Social Science Association (WSSA)

Link to Program:https://www.wssaweb.com/documents/archive/2019_Conference_Abstracts_Official_2019-05-31.pdf

Donors, board members, and other stakeholders seem to hold nonprofits to higher standards than they do for-profit organizations. One consequence of this is that stakeholders find it harder to forgive scandals in nonprofits. Yet, scandals and crises do occur in the nonprofit world. In these circumstances, how do nonprofit managers communicate to stakeholders? How do they attempt, through their messages, to recover their organizations’ credibility postscandal? We analyze five cases, focusing on the messages put out by nonprofit actors, and identifying the range of strategies adopted by nonprofits to communicate with important stakeholders. We also assess the relative effectiveness of these post-scandal communication strategies in rebuilding the reputations of the organizations. We close the paper by offering suggestions for nonprofit managers and board members.


61st annual Western Social Science Association (WSSA)


San Diego, California

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