How do nonprofit practitioners learn to understand themselves as nonprofit professionals?
“Although the literature has explored the extent and repercussions of nonprofits becoming more business-like and professionalised, little attention has been placed on the process through which this professionalisation occurs.”
The author has used autoethnography based on his experience as the co-founder and manager of a small nonprofit organisation. Autoethnography is a form of qualitative research in which an author uses self-reflection and writing to explore their personal experience and connect this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. Topics discussed include how:
- Nonprofit practitioners learn to understand themselves as nonprofit professionals.
- The professionalisation process occurs in practice.
- Nonprofit practitioners learn to see themselves and their practice through the mind-set of professionalisation.
- Business-like management practices shape the professionalisation process.
- These practices affect nonprofit practitioners’ subjectivity.
The author argues “that professionalisation is taught to nonprofit practitioners through two intertwined mechanisms: the ‘technologies of performance,’ which include funding, and evaluation and monitoring procedures; and ‘technologies of agency,’ which involve the often subtle socialisation mechanisms into the sector.