Date of Graduation

Summer 8-20-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA)


School of Management

First Advisor

Dr. Marco Tavanti

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Waters


This qualitative research examines the extent to which internal communication within member-serving nonprofit organizations is used strategically to harness the dedication of a nearly all-volunteer labor force and align their efforts to achieve organizational goals. This research focuses on the prototypical nonprofit village model that aims to promote aging in place, healthier aging, and a higher quality of life for older people through a combination of member supports, referrals to affordable aging services, and social and cultural engagement. An established and expanding village organization in California served as a case study. Interviews conducted with highly involved member and volunteer leader stakeholders revealed a strong affinity for organic, informal communication and relationship building, and also program and service areas that have grown into functional silos with some unclear boundaries and objectives. A lack of communications policies has contributed to knowledge sharing tentativeness. Well-positioned liaison groups orchestrate some communication bi-directionally between leadership and general members, but information gaps were identified, as well as myriad challenges related to rapid growth and the need to restructure staffing support. No formalized strategic planning efforts were found nor were internal or external outreach and communications plans in evidence. Nonprofit organizations like the member-serving village model that face sustainability challenges will need to prioritize strategic planning and establish integrated internal communications policies and processes to better prepare their organizations for continued growth.