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Social Sciences | VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations

Official journal of the International Society for Third-Sector Research

Co-Editor-in-Chief: T. Brandsen; R. Simsa

ISSN: 0957-8765 (print version)
ISSN: 1573-7888 (electronic version)

Journal no. 11266

The Evolution of the Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector

All articles are free to read until June 5,2017 or are Open Access.

In 2014, Voluntas celebrated its 25th anniversary. Prior to this, it had grown from an obscure specialist outlet to become the most global of the journals in non-profit and voluntary sector studies, matching diversity with a reasonably high impact factor. Publications from the first half of this decade clearly show the breadth of the journal. Simultaneously, they show the current concerns and trends of the field, in which some common threads emerge. It has been revealing to analyse which articles have proven the most popular in the years surrounding the anniversary.
These articles show the boundaries of traditional spheres becoming less distinct, as non-profit organisations adapt to conditions of austerity, as they face demands to become more managerialized, increasing competition within and beyond the sector, and changes in the nature of volunteering. As organisations diversify to cope with changing environments, there is more interest in types that do not fit the classical categories, such as hybrids and social enterprises, and consequently also in new definitions of the nonprofit sector. As the organisations face conflicting demands and multiple identities, this in turn raises debates over the changing nature of accountability (to whom, in what shape) and the need for a broader measurement of performance and impact (speaking the language of the market ánd moving beyond it). As the nature of volunteering evolves, new questions are being asked about the motivations and psychological contracts that bind individuals to each other and to voluntary organisations. This is accompanied by attention for new types of civic action, such co-production and online volunteering.
This virtual issue on “The Evolution of the Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector” brings together a collection of the most downloaded articles of the last five years. Jointly, they show a field that is fully in touch with developments outside the academic world and not afraid to challenge its own fundamental assumptions. That is surely something we can all be proud of.
Taco Brandsen
Ruth Simsa


For authors and editors

  • Journal Citation Reports®
    2016 Impact Factor
  • 1.098
  • Aims and Scope

    Aims and Scope


    The official journal of the International Society for Third-Sector Research, Voluntas is an interdisciplinary international journal that aims to be the central forum for worldwide research in the area between the state, market, and household sectors. Articles are published in English but abstracts in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic are included. The journal combines full-length articles with shorter research notes (reflecting the latest developments in the field) and book reviews.

    Voluntas is essential reading for all those engaged in research into the Third Sector (voluntary and nonprofit organizations) including economists, lawyers, political scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and social and public policy analysts. It aims to present leading-edge academic argument around civil society issues in a style that is accessible to practitioners and policymakers.
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    Instructions for Authors


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