Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

First Advisor

Richard Lyle, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Roslyn A. Harper, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gerry White, Ph.D.


The primary purpose of this study is to explore financial management strategies among administrators of small nonprofit social services organizations. This study addresses the gap in empirical literature with a specific focus on small nonprofit organizations. This study avers that the available literature on social service organizations is fundamentally flawed. It argues for a reevaluation of the available literature based on apparent errors in methodology and research design.

The literature reveals that nonprofit organizational empirical research excludes small nonprofit organizations and disproportionately presents a representation of large- and medium-sized nonprofit organizations as the norm for social service organizational financial operations. Previous studies that explore nonprofit organizational sustainability select organizations with annual revenues or assets at a minimum of $100,000. Furthermore, the empirical research excludes small non-profit organizations by design

and offers findings that include generalizations that are erroneously attributable to all nonprofit organizations. This dissertation outlines the aforementioned errors in the first two chapters. In order to appropriately investigate the aforementioned, this study draws upon the Afrocentric Perspective to supplement the dominate focus of the available literature on small nonprofit financial management.

In chapter three, this study explains the study’s design rationale and presents this study’s significance to the field of social work administration. Additionally, chapter three elucidates this study’s contributions to nonprofit social service organizational research and knowledge. The research questions consider possible correlations between small nonprofit organizations’ sustainability strategies and social work mangers’ education and experience. The study’s research questions also consider how financial management strategies affect organizational sustainability. The research design notation O occurs through the developed questionnaire titled “Nonprofit Organization Sustainability Survey.” Statistical procedures examined grouped questions by themed content and computed the group variables scales: financial management, business experience, educational influence, organization sustainability strategies, entrepreneur activities, and budget planning.

More than two-thirds of respondents reported that they had experiences with establishing a nonprofit organization; however, they are more comfortable working with clients than conducting financial management tasks. Additionally, while nearly all of the respondents believed that they can secure funding for the organization, 60% reported that their organization had challenges with securing funding.