Managing Risk and Growth of Nonprofit Revenue


  • Dwight V. Denison University of Kentucky
  • Wenli Yan Virginia Commonwealth University
  • J. S. Butler University of Kentucky



Revenue Risks, Revenue Growth, Revenue Volatility


Managers of nonprofit organizations are challenged to manage revenue growth and risk (i.e., volatility) in order to sustain current and future financial operations. Although the negative repercussions of revenue risk are generally perceived as undesirable, not all risk is bad. If higher levels of revenue risk are compensated with a greater amount of revenue growth, then organizations may rationally pursue volatile revenues that produce growth. This article examines the extent to which a reliance on major revenue sources by nonprofit organizations affects the magnitude of total revenue volatility as well as the pace of total revenue growth. A monitoring application is introduced that can be used to compare the effectiveness of revenue management among similar nonprofit organizations. It can also be used to guide nonprofit managers striving to achieve sustainable financial growth for their organizations.

Author Biographies

  • Dwight V. Denison, University of Kentucky
    Dwight Denison is professor of public and nonprofit finance in the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Denison’s areas of teaching and research include debt management, nonprofit finance, and financial management. His research has been published in various books and journals, including National Tax Journal, Public Finance Review, Public Administration Review, Public Budgeting and Finance, and the Journal of Nonprofit Management.
  • Wenli Yan, Virginia Commonwealth University
    Wenli Yan is associate professor in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. She received her doctorate in public administration from the University of Kentucky. Her current research interests include revenue structure and debt finance of public and nonprofit organizations. She has published in various journals, including National Tax Journal, Public Finance Review, American Review of Public Administration Review, Public Budgeting and Finance, and Journal of Regional Science and Regional Studies.
  • J. S. Butler, University of Kentucky
    J.S. Butler is an econometrician in policy analysis and economics. In policy, he has worked on topics that include higher education issues related to graduation and graduate school success, the economics of K–12 education, and nonprofit management. He has worked with economists in many fields, including labor economics, the economics of education, health economics, the Food Stamp Program, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and macroeconomics. In addition, he researches the teaching of psychology and economics and has been a statistician in pharmacy research.






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