The Role of Financial Burden in Nonprofit Sector Commitment


  • Kerry Kuenzi University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
  • Amanda J. Stewart North Carolina State University
  • Marlene Walk IUPUI



Nonprofit Sector Commitment, Financial Burden, Nonprofit Graduate Education, Student Debt


Evidence about millennial work motivations and the increasing importance of compensation questions the durability of the donative labor hypothesis in explaining nonprofit sector commitment. Nonprofit graduate education offers an employment pipeline into the sector, but what if the importance of compensation is partly driven by the financial burden accrued from education? Could it be that financial burden contributes to choices about work and commitment to the nonprofit sector? Using longitudinal data of nonprofit education alumni, we inquire about their sector commitment in light of the financial burden from their degree. Findings of this exploratory study offer a starting point for future research into how nonprofit education alumni view career opportunities in the nonprofit sector.

Author Biographies

Kerry Kuenzi, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Kerry Kuenzi is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She researches and publishes on public and nonprofit management topics including nonprofit executive careers, public and nonprofit education, and collaboration and networks.

Amanda J. Stewart, North Carolina State University

Amanda J. Stewart is an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University in the School of Public and International Affairs, Department of Public Administration. Her research centers on nonprofit organizations, including leadership continuity, career development, and organizational capacity.

Marlene Walk, IUPUI

Marlene Walk is an Assistant Professor at the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI. Her research interests are human resource management, volunteering, and volunteer management, as well as the impact of organizational change on employees.






Research Articles