Secrecy and Transparency in Nonprofit Organizations: If a Nonprofit Prefers Secrecy, What Does it Want to Hide?
In this paper, the authors explore the resistance of many--especially large--nonprofit organizations to the practice of transparency. We argue that this resistance reflects the stubborn attitude of elitists who usually govern the nonprofits that ordinary individuals need no more rights and information than the elite class cares to offer them. Organizational leaders withhold comprehensible information about the nonprofits’ finances and records of the boards’ policy deliberations. Suppression of such information denies prospective donors the knowledge that would allow them to make optimal decisions about where to invest their charitable donations. The authors present a summary of 85 Georgia charities to identify independent variables that are related to the charities’ willingness to publicize minutes of their board meetings. Only one independent variable has a statistically significant relationship with the willingness to publicize minutes: That is the availability of audited financial statements on the website. It is difficult to justify donors’ submission of donations to charities that are less than generous in sharing with the public honest information about their operations.
South Eastern Conference for Public Administration
College of Business and Management
Friedman, B.D., & Wolcott, A.M. (2018, September 21). Secrecy and transparency in nonprofit organizations: If a nonprofit prefers secrecy, what does it want to hide? Presented at the South Eastern Conference for Public Administration, Birmingham, AL.
Presented at the South Eastern Conference for Public Administration, Birmingham, AL.