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Beyond the Liability of Newness: Nonprofit Organizations in an Emerging Policy Domain

Susan M. Chambré, Naomi Fatt
Published: 1 December 2002

Abstract: The number of new nonprofit organizations has grown considerably. New organizations influence public policy. The early years of a new organization are a time of “imprinting,” as well as vulnerability. The concept of the liability of newness has influenced organizational research, but its dimensions have not been explored fully. This article reviews past research and presents descriptive data on the experiences of newly founded HIV/AIDS organizations. The fate of new AIDS organizations was highly dependent on their acquisition of stable funding sources, particularly public funds. Internal organizational problems had a limited impact on the deaths of organizations, especially those with public funds. Although new organizations face hazards, there are also common dilemmas at other stages in the life cycle that can be traced to nonprofit organizations’dependence on multiple funding sources.
Keywords: Nonprofit organizations / policy / life cycle / public / HIV/AIDS / vulnerability / New Organizations / Liability of Newness / funds

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