Research Design (as of 2007)

The project began in June 2000 and has produced a substantial body of research results. It includes five major phases.

PHASE I - Developing a Comprehensive Database of Indiana Nonprofits (ongoing)

We have constructed a comprehensive database of Indiana nonprofits, using a unique methodology that combines a variety of data sources. Several papers and reports based on these efforts (see "research results") describe what we have learned about the composition of the Indiana nonprofit sector and about the challenges involved in working with different types of nonprofits listings. This work began in the fall of 1999 and was completed in August of 2001 with updates in 2002, 2004 and 2005. A searchable, web-based listing of Indiana nonprofits from our database (based on the 2005 update) is now available, hosted by the Indiana Business Research Center. For a description of how the database was created, see our database protocol (you will need the Acrobat program to read the paper) as well as several papers posted on our "Paper Abstracts" page.

PHASE II - Profiling the Indiana Nonprofit Sector (in process)

We have completed several surveys of Indiana nonprofits to profile their characteristics and describe their management challenges and capacities.

2002 Survey of Indiana Nonprofits (completed)

We comleted a mail survey of Indiana nonprofits in 2002 on a broad range of topics designed to profile Indiana nonprofits of all types - charities, congregations, advocacy nonprofits, and membership associations. The survey, conducted by the Center for Survey Research at Indiana University, was distributed to a sample of Indiana nonprofits selected at random from our comprehensive Indiana nonprofit database, with expanded samples from each of our participating communities. A total of 2,206 Indiana nonprofits responded to the survey. Guided by a Survey Advisory Board of 25 key community leaders, the survey has addressed a broad range of planning issues of direct relevance to Indiana nonprofits. This phase of the project began in early 2002 and was completed in 2006. Results from the survey are posted on our "Research Results" page.

Indiana Nonprofit Capacity Assessment (in process)

Phase II of the Indiana Nonprofit Capacity Assessment project is now completed. Results are posted on our "Research Results" page.

PHASE III - Community Profile Analysis (in process)

During Phase II of our project, we have profiled the nonprofit sector in the 12 participating communities. We plan continuing analysis on how the scope, structure and linkages of the community's nonprofit sector relate to community social, political, economic, and cultural characteristics. This work is currently underway. For more information on this, please see the Project Synopsis.

PHASE IV - Supplementary Data Sources on Indiana Nonprofits (ongoing)

Although not part of the project as originally conceived, we have begun a series of annual reports on nonprofit employment in Indiana, using special analyses of data from the Covered Employment and Wage Program prepared for us by the Indiana Business Research Center. These reports document the size, composition, and distribution of paid employment in the private nonprofit sector in Indiana over time, including trends in nonprofit, for-profit, and government employment and wages as well as industry and regional differences in nonprofit employment. Reports for several economic regions have also been completed. For more information on this, please see the Project Synopsis.

PHASE V - Study of Nonprofit Networks & Development of Curricular Materials (in planning stage)

Future plans include conducting in-depth case studies of organizations involved in networks or other collaborative relationships, with particular attention to religious linkages. We also plan to collaborate with the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and The Fundraising School at the Center, to develop curriculum additions and adaptations based on project findings. For more information on this, please see the Project Synopsis.

Phase Participating Communities Rest of State
Merge 3 databases, deleting duplicate and/or defunct organizations
Merge 3 databases, deleting duplicates
Add organizations from local listings
Not performed
Add organizations from household survey
Add organizations from household survey
2002 Indiana nonprofit survey using expanded samples of nonprofits in each community
2002 Indiana nonprofit survey using a statewide sample of nonprofits

Nonprofit Capacity Assessment survey of selected statewide samples of Indiana nonprofits

In-depth study and profiles of the nonprofit sector in each community
No statewide component
Develop supplementary data sources on Indiana nonprofits: analysis of nonprofit employment; analysis of Form 990 reports from Indiana charities
Case studies of organizational linkages, focusing on faith-based organizations; develop curriculum and training models

*In planning phase. Funding for phase V is not yet secured.