Special ERNOP Issue of Voluntas

ERNOP Special Issue of Voluntas

The Role of Philanthropy in Building Bridges in Times of Polarization and Inequality

Full paper submissions due: June 1st, 2022

Guest editors: Gemma Donnely-Cox (Centre for Social Innovation, Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), Marta Rey-García (School of Economics and Business, University of A Coruña (UDC), Spain), Michaela Neumayr (Institute for Nonprofit Management, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria) and Peter Schubert (Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences, Universität Hamburg, Germany).

A special issue of Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, the official journal of the International Society for Third-Sector Research (ISTR) will be dedicated to the theme of the 10th International ERNOP Conference: the role of philanthropy in building bridges in the aftermath of Covid-19.

We invite papers to take stock of the contribution of philanthropy to bridge existing and new societal divides and specific tensions arising in the broad field of voluntary action for the public good. Covid-19 has put tremendous strains on the way we used to organize our societies, our approaches to contributing to the public good and to sort out common problems; locally and globally. The pandemic has impacted many fields of philanthropic activity – e.g. healthcare, education, international development, culture or social services, just to mention a few –, accelerating existing divides and tensions, and creating new ones.

What is the role of philanthropy in bridging societal divides?

A first stream of expected contributions will analyse the extent to which philanthropy can contribute to overcome populism, polarization and rising levels of inequality. How can philanthropy keep communities together by connecting religious groups, native and immigrant groups, the rich and poor? How can philanthropy contribute to address United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals? How can philanthropy help alleviate the digital divide? As philanthropy is increasingly viewed from a critical perspective, we invite you to explore its responsibility to reduce polarization and/or inequality, highlight areas where philanthropy continues to sustain polarization and/or inequality and discuss consequences this may have in the future.

How can philanthropy deal with its own intrinsic tensions so that it improves its capacity to contribute to the common good?

The philanthropic sector’s contribution to bridging societal divides will hinge on its capacity to effectively manage relationships between philanthropic actors and other relevant stakeholders and make use of novel funding instruments and types of resources. A second stream of expected contributions will hence deal with the tensions endogenous to the philanthropic field that may affect its capacity to contribute to the common good. These may include tensions between philanthropic practices and institutions and actors from the public, business or informal sectors; or power imbalances that strain the relationships between philanthropic actors, on one hand, and relevant stakeholders such as recipients, partners, funders, volunteers or policymakers, on other hand. To what extent are the concepts of charitable giving and philanthropic giving intertwined or diverging roads? How will we navigate the tensions that exist between government funding and private philanthropic giving? How do relatively novel approaches such as venture philanthropy, social impact investment, crowdfunding platforms, donor-advised funds, episodic and mobile volunteers or social innovation shape the landscape of philanthropy in the twenty-first century?

Now is the time to bridge the gap between theory and practice in the philanthropic space and we should address the question on how to best organize voluntary action for the public good in the face of post-Covid divides and tensions.

Please take note of the following guidelines and working timeline:

  • Submissions for this special issue will be taken from any author interested in contributing, regardless of prior participation in the conference.
  • June 1st, 2022: deadline for interested authors to submit full manuscripts to guest editors for internal review and round of revisions through www.ernop.eu/special-conference-issue. Manuscripts can be submitted by making use of the following link: https://fd20.formdesk.com/vuamsterdam/ERNOPSpecialConferenceIssue 
  • August 1st, 2022: deadline to upload all invited articles through the journal’s submission system, indicating the Voluntas-ERNOP special issue as the destination, to undergo the full review process of the journal: desk review first, and then if selected blind peer review. Authors are requested to submit their manuscripts upon invitation by the guest editors directly in the Springer system; and need to indicate that the paper being submitted is part of the Special Issue: ‘The Role of Philanthropy in Building Bridges in Times of Polarization and Inequality in the submission questionnaire

Papers should be a maximum of 8,000 words in length (including the abstract, main text, references, endnotes and any tables/figures). Please make sure to follow all guidelines for authors, as outlined at: https://www.springer.com/social+sciences/journal/11266

For any question regarding the special issue please contact Gemma Donnelly-Cox at