Scientific article
Open access

How Do NPOs Get Funding? A Business Model Perspective Based on the Conversion of Symbolic Capital

First online date2020-06-08

Despite intensive research dedicated to both social alliances and business models, a research gap persists with regard to why and how nonprofit organizations (NPOs) choose (or not) to partner with for-profit organizations (FPOs) to obtain funding. By adopting an NPO-centered analysis, this article presents a new framework, based on Bourdieu’s forms of capital. With an explicit consideration of symbolic capital—and the risks of damaging it if the NPO turns to FPOs for funding—the authors explore specific issues related to NPO business models. The empirical test of the framework relies on an original database of 150 nongovernmental organizations with international scope. It reveals four distinct business models (public, civic, opportunistic, and diversified) and demonstrates that a high stock of symbolic capital gives organizations the power to choose and eventually diversify their funding sources, including partnering with select FPOs.

  • Business model
  • Social alliances
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Symbolic capital
  • Economic capital
Citation (ISO format)
FERRARY, Michel, BOCQUET, Rachel, COTTERLAZ-RANNARD, Gaelle. How Do NPOs Get Funding? A Business Model Perspective Based on the Conversion of Symbolic Capital. In: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 2020. doi: 10.1177/0899764020925912
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Article (Published version)

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