ABSTRACT

Of all stakeholder relationships, those that nonprofit organizations have with members or volunteers may be at the same time the most tenuous and the most necessary. Stakeholders who enter into a relationship with a nonprofit group, whether it is an alumni association, a professional group, or a social service agency, usually have some need or goal that motivates their joining, donating, serving, or attending. Yet that need or goal is usually self-directed, meaning that if it is not satisfied or supported, the individual will find another source for satisfaction or motivation. Similarly, most, if not all, membership-or volunteer-based organizations have needs or goals as well. To address their missions, most often the need is financial, with the organization heavily dependent on donations to maintain activities or services. The need may also be for staffing, where, in essence, the volunteers are functioning as quasi-employees of the organization. Such great pressures may tempt organizations to exploit donors, volunteers, or clients or to forgo truthful disclosure when puffery or evasion may bring quicker returns.