Quotation Willems, Jurgen, Boenigk, Silke, Jegers, Marc. 2014. Seven Trade-offs in Measuring Nonprofit Performance and Effectiveness. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. 25 (6), 1648-1670.




To complement contemporary nonprofit literature, which mainly offers theory-driven recommendations for measuring nonprofit effectiveness, performance, or related concepts; this article presents seven trade-offs for researchers and practitioners to consider before engaging in a nonprofit effectiveness measurement project. For each trade-off, we offer examples and suggestions to clarify the advantages and disadvantages of methodological choices that take various contextual elements into account. In particular, we address the differences between formative and reflective approaches, as well as the differences between unit of interest, unit of data collection, and unit of analysis. These topics require more in-depth attention in the nonprofit effectiveness literature to avoid misinterpretations and measurement biases. Finally, this article concludes with five avenues for further research to help address key challenges that remain in this research area.


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  • performance
  • governance
  • effectiveness
  • measurement
  • data collection
  • formative
  • refelxive
  • lagging

Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation External
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new INF-A, MAN-A, STRAT-B, WH-B
Language English
Title Seven Trade-offs in Measuring Nonprofit Performance and Effectiveness
Volume 25
Number 6
Year 2014
Page from 1648
Page to 1670
Reviewed? Y
URL https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260748914_Seven_Trade-offs_in_Measuring_Nonprofit_Performance_and_Effectiveness
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11266-014-9446-1
Open Access N


Willems, Jurgen (Details)
Boenigk, Silke (University of Hamburg, Germany)
Jegers, Marc (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium)
Research areas (Ă–STAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
1109 Information and data processing (Details)
2709 Surveying (Details)
5234 Administrative science (Details)
5308 Management sciences (Details)
5363 Non-profit-sector research (NPO, NPI) (Details)
5413 Sociological methods (Details)
6834 Performance practice (Details)
6906 Public research (Details)
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