Research Focus Nonprofit Organizations Nonprofit Organizations Driven by their mission, nonprofit organizations (NPOs) contribute day by day to a better world – by providing humanitarian aid, protecting endangered species, or caring for patients. However, the third sector has faced deep and drastic changes over the last years: as nonprofit organizations are in constant competition for funds, staff, influence, and public attention, they experience a growing pressure to operate effectively. But how do NPOs cope with this pressure, which strategies do they develop and how do they implement their plans? And above all: how do they communicate with their stakeholders in these processes? How do nonprofit organizations manage their communications to ensure their stakeholders’ trust and their support (e.g., through visual communication and social media)? These questions lie at the heart of our research. Our cooperation with nonprofit organizations such as the United Nations, IATA, or the European Central Bank provide us with an in-depth understanding of the organizational and communicative challenges that managers in the third sector are facing today. Prof. Dr. Martin J. Eppler How can nonprofit organizations communicate in a targeted, effective and strategic way? Based on our research and our industry projects, we want to provide answers to these questions. Fabienne Bünzli PhD Candidate & Research Associate Our Projects and Studies Case Study: Social Media Analytics in Humanitarian Crisis In a joint case study with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) we show how social media analytics impact stakeholder management in humanitarian crises. Based on a mission in one African context, we illustrate the role that social media analytics played in detecting an unexpected stakeholder constellation and in strengthening the ICRC’s presence as protection provider. The case is available at the Case Center and is specifically tailored for teaching purposes in academic and other educational contexts. Through the case study, students learn what "managing stakeholders" means for an international humanitarian nonprofit organization with more than 16’000 employees worldwide. Analyzing this case should enable students to evaluate the role of social media analytics for a humanitarian organization’s mission, to understand the challenges of such tools, and to develop strategic communication approaches to make insights from social media analyses actionable. The case study is available here. Classification: Strategic NPO Communication Targeted communication is one of the most critical determinants for successful strategy implementation: it’s all about finding the “right words and the right tone” that resonate with stakeholders and ultimately ensure their support. Nevertheless, to date we only know little about the communication approaches that nonprofit organizations use to implement their strategies. Even though there are a few contributions shedding light on this subject, overall, research is scarce. This is particularly mirrored in the lack of theoretical concepts dealing with how to capture and categorize NPOs’ communication in strategy implementation. To address this challenge, we have examined NPOs’ communication in strategy implementation from a conceptual perspective. Specifically, we have developed a typology that helps to identify and systematically analyze the communication approaches that nonprofit organizations use in strategy implementation. The typology serves as sense-making tool for both researchers and practitioners. (Paper currently under review) We presented a first version of the paper at the Annual conference of the Swiss Association of Communication and Media Research 2018 (Best Paper Award received): https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/254051/ Literature Review: Stakeholder Management in NPO Contexts Nonprofit organizations operate in increasingly dynamic and competitive environments where they are confronted with a multitude of different stakeholders. If they want to survive over the long haul, NPOs need to consider the many different, sometimes conflicting interests. To understand these processes, stakeholder management provides a sound and fruitful concept. In an encompassing literature review we deal with the concept of stakeholder management and present a communication-oriented synthesis of the underlying mechanisms and the related practical implications. Drawing on a process perspective, we show that the reviewed stakeholder management concepts all converge regarding three core phases. Moreover, we discover that these concepts can be categorized into two different proceeding methods. Dealing with the application fields of stakeholder management, we further identify three lines of argumentation and their implications for organizational communication. Here you can find the paper that we have presented at the annual conference of the Association for Business Communication (2017). Here you can find our article about stakeholder management in the Zeitschrift für OrganisationsEntwicklung (ZOE). Design Approach: Mapping the NPO Space Due to its heterogeneity and its thematic breath, outlining the different research fields within the nonprofit sector is far from trivial. Thus, when it comes to reducing complexity and providing a sound overview, visualizations have shown to be a helpful and effective tool. Based on several visualizations, we have tried to map the most prominent NPO researchers and their area of research. Our maps focus on international as well as German-speaking and Swiss contexts. Here you can find the map as PDF. Current Research Projects Research on public relations campaigns of NPOs Public will campaigns are particularly important for nonprofit organizations: they serve to raise awareness for social problems and catalyze changes. Hence, launching public will campaigns, NPOs ultimately seek to gain their stakeholders’ support and to bring their strategies to fruition. There is a large body of literature dealing with how messages should be “framed” to increase a public will campaign’s resonance. However, studies specifically tailored to public will campaigns in nonprofit contexts are rare. Moreover, there is certain imbalance with regard to the examination of verbal and visual framing. While research has paid great attention to framing effects induced by the “written word”, visual framing – meaning the targeted use of images – has not yet gained the same level of interest. As a result, models that show how visual and verbal frames interact in public will campaigns are still widely missing. What’s more, current literature often neglects the fact that nonprofit organizations are confronted with a vast range of different stakeholders whose reactions to campaigning messages might differ considerably. Given these research gaps, we’d like to examine how nonprofit organizations can systematically frame message to improve the resonance of their public will campaigns. In this endeavour we are particularly interested in how visual and verbal frames interact and in the extent to which stake-holders differ in their reactions to campaign mes-sages. Would you like to know more about our current project or are you interested in cooperating with us? Don’t hesitate to contact us.