Public Policy Symposium

Past Event
Monday, May 18, 2020 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM (ET)

Registration is Closed


Event Details

Update: We have reached capacity for this virtual event and are closing registration. 

The Association for Research on Nonprofits and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) is partnering with Independent Sector to host the 9th annual Public Policy Symposium. The purpose of the symposium is to convene leading scholars, practitioners, advocates, and regulators who are experts in the field of public policy to develop a better understanding of issues impacting nonprofit organizations. For the first time, this event will be virtual and anyone interested in dynamic discussions about nonprofit policy is invited.

This year’s ARNOVA + Independent Sector virtual symposium will present cutting-edge research on three timely, inter-related topics: COVID-19 response, Civic Engagement, and Philanthropic Oversight.  We are in the midst of a national emergency on a scale unseen in over a century that is forcing nonprofits to manage major budget shortfalls, drastic shifts to virtual operations, and exponential growth in need.  We also are observing how long-standing systemic challenges are exacerbated by the crisis.  Consequently, nonprofit leaders and policymakers frantically work to meet immediate needs through emergency response legislation, but also consider what broader issues must be addressed to support the long-term recovery and future resilience of the nonprofit sector.

Section 1:  COVID-19 Response

Researchers identify early lessons to learn about the impact of COVID-19 and public policy on nonprofits.  This section will help the sector better understand its current policy environment, which advocates and policymakers can use to develop more effective policies targeting nonprofit needs during the long-term recovery stage of this crisis.  Papers include:

  • The Paycheck Portability Program and the Nonprofit Sector by Brent Never
  • Nonprofits and Philanthropy and the COVID-19 Crisis in China by Mark Sidel and Hu Ming
  • Digital Policy is the Nonprofit Sector’s Policy Agenda Now by Lucy Bernholz and Toussaint Nothias

Section 2:  Civic Engagement

For several years, data indicated that several forms of civic engagement may be on the decline.  The pandemic exacerbated the problem by disrupting the ways many nonprofits mobilize volunteers, advocates, and voters.  Researchers in this section analyze different drivers that nonprofits may use to reignite collective action and civic engagement in 2020.  Papers include:

  • The Role of 501(c)(4) Social Welfare Organizations in Grassroots Electoral and Public Policy Engagement by Margaret Post and Elizabeth Boris
  • Do Sociocultural Factors Drive Civic Engagement? by Jaclyn Piatak

Section 3:  Nonprofit Oversight

In deliberations over COVID-19 aid packages, advocates request special treatment for nonprofit organizations.  In order to justify these requests, nonprofits must demonstrate to the public and policymakers that they are worthy of trust.  Researchers in this section examine where there are questions as to whether nonprofits are living up to public expectations and policymaker intent.  Papers include:

  • An Examination of Short-lived Nonprofits Involved in Tax Policy Advocacy by Renee Irvin
  • Private Foundation Grants to DAFs by Jon Pratt, Kari Aanestad, and Kerry Gibbons

Co-Hosted with

  • D’Arlyn Bell

    Hello – I am registered for this event and am wondering how do I participate? Apologies- this is my first time attending one of your events.

    Thank you!

  • Kirsten Gronbjerg

    I am also registered, but never received a message with a phone number. Please provide.

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