Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Management and Policy

First Advisor

Dennis Young

Second Advisor

Jesse Lecy

Third Advisor

Thad Calabrese

Fourth Advisor

Bruce Seaman

Fifth Advisor

Gregory Lewis


This dissertation offers insight into the organizational lives of small and new not-for-profits. The first essay used three different estimation strategies to model the role of revenue type in the growth in young and small not-for-profits. We find that increases in the percentage of a not-for-profit’s revenue portfolio going to dues, indirect support, or non-mission income will suppress growth and that there is no “optimal” model across subsectors. The second essay uses over twenty years of panel data to predict which factors indicate the impending recovery of a financially vulnerable small and young nonprofit. Support for hypotheses based in the literature is mixed, but the key insight is that nonprofits need to save if they want to get healthy: bringing in revenues is not enough. Finally, the third essay uses a qualitative approach on young and new mental health not-for-profits in the state of New York. Using comparative case studies, this study analyzes the internal and external factors surrounding the demise of small and young mental health nonprofits. This study finds support for several of the potential causes of nonprofit demise in a newly proposed typology.