[Voluntas] From Direct Involvement to Indirect Control? A Multilevel Analysis of Factors Influencing Chinese Foundations’ Capacity for Resource Mobilization


Qian Wei
Department of Sociology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Canada

Fulltext: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11266-017-9924-3

Some nonprofits easily attract resources, while others struggle to survive. However, little is known about what characteristics account for the difference in nonprofit organizations’ capacity to mobilize resources, especially in authoritarian countries. Using multilevel modeling techniques and a national sample of 3344 philanthropic foundations in 31 regions of mainland China, this research seeks to address this knowledge gap by examining the effect of both organizational and contextual factors on foundations’ revenues, paying special attention to the government’s role. Results show that the distribution of resources is highly unbalanced in China’s foundation sector and that foundations with particular characteristics are systematically favored. By exploring what factors give foundations the edge in mobilizing resources, this study reveals how the Chinese government has used a more sophisticated, indirect method than direct control to shape resource distribution and regulate the development of nonprofits. Social organizations can survive and even thrive, but only certain types.

Keywords: Resource mobilization; Foundations; Government control; Multilevel modeling

The author would like to thank Liam Swiss, Anton Oleinik, Qun Wang, Huafang Li, Bin Chen and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier versions of this article. All errors in this work are entirely the author’s. This paper was presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), in Washington, DC, on November 18, 2016.