The PhD Seminar: A bit like coming home for me

The following is a guest post by Mieke Berghmans, former ISTR PhD Seminar participant.

I am one of those PhD students who had the chance to attend two ISTR PhD seminars: a first one in 2012 in Muenster and a second one, two years later, in Stockholm.  Needless to say,  I am very enthusiastic about the whole program. I have been encouraging fellow PhD students to apply too.

The ISTR PhD seminar meant a lot of different things to me. Let me share a few with you.

The ISTR PhD seminar was a great chance for me to meet other academics who are passionate about the same things that I am passionate about. At my home university, my colleagues have a shared interest in education, society and culture. They are all great people with interesting subjects of study. But unfortunately, not one of my colleagues is working on international NGOs, the topic that I love. This made me feel quite ‘lonely’ in the beginning of my research. Attending the ISTR PhD seminar and meeting folks who can talk endlessly about the difference between social movements and NGOs and other ‘sector related’ issues was really a bit like coming home for me.

What I also loved about the ISTR PhD seminar is the ‘formula’ of the small group sessions. In these sessions, students quickly – in five minutes or so – present their work to the group members. After that, the members of the group ask them questions. I hadn’t come across this way of working until I participated in the ISTR PhD seminar. Before that, I had always participated in debates where one person presents his or her work extensively and then a shorter time period is reserved for critical comments, questions and suggestions of the public. The formula used in the ISTR PhD seminar turned this upside down. It reserved more time for the discussion than for the presentation and it allowed the presenter to ask questions to the group.  I must say I found this a very fruitful approach. In this formula, students were not pushed in to a defensive mode. Rather, we could openly present the issues that had us stuck and that we were struggling with, and our fellow group members would spend 45 minutes constructively working with us to look for alternative perspectives and solutions, helping us to get ‘unstuck’ again.

Most importantly, both ISTR PhD seminars were a lot of fun. I had a great time and laughed a lot during the sessions, in the pub, and in the park. Through the seminar I met some great people who became good friends. I look forward to meeting them again in July. See you in Amsterdam!

mieke photo

Mieke Berghmans

Writing a PhD on ‘accountability in international NGOs’ at KU Leuven, Belgium

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Notice to Conference Authors: Important new information about paper submissions

In an effort to streamline our processes, ISTR has changed the way papers should be submitted and distributed for the upcoming conference.  ISTR will no longer be sending emails connecting speakers and moderators directly.  Authors take note, this year, authors will be asked to upload their papers to our online AllAcademic system www.istr.org/aap by June 10.  This will allow your moderator and conference participants to read your paper in advance of the conference.  Authors will be assigned a moderator in late April/early May and they will be given instructions for downloading your paper from AllAcademic.

Everything online will also by synced with the forthcoming conference app, which will mean that conference participants can download papers directly to their mobile devices in advance and during the conference.

We hope that this will make it easier for authors to share their work with ISTR members.

For the first time this year, ISTR has also published paper drafting guidance.

Please note that ISTR has published guidance for paper presentations and poster design and presentation, including information on how to print your poster at a local print shop.

Post-Conference Publication and Working Paper Opportunities

Following the conference, authors are invited to revise their papers in the light of conference feedback with an eye to an appropriate submission to Voluntas, the peer‐ reviewed official journal of ISTR, or any other journals in the field.  Publication decisions are the sole discretion of such journals and ISTR does not participate in the editorial decisions on such submissions.  Authors can also submit their papers to be reviewed for selection for publication in the ISTR Conference Working Papers Series to be published after the conference on the ISTR website.

Questions? 

Please direct any additional questions to ISTR at ISTR_Secretariat@jhu.edu

ISTR Author Registration Deadline – March 16

If you plan to present a paper, panel, poster, or roundtable at the ISTR Conference in Amsterdam then you MUST register for the conference by March 16.  Only those who register by March 16 will have their presentations scheduled and their names and abstracts printed in the ISTR Conference program.  Those that register after March 16 will not be scheduled to present.

And as a reminder, in order to register for the conference you need to be a paying member of ISTR (not a non-paying affiliate).

We look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam!

 

Special Events at the ISTR Conference: Book signing, professional development seminars, and canal tours!

Amidst the flurry of taking care of your conference registration, booking your flight and hotel, and of course writing your conference paper, you may not have noticed the page we have on the ISTR website announcing several special events at this year’s conference in Amsterdam.  Be sure to take a look as some require advance registration to attend.

Free Canal Tours for Conference Participants!

We are pleased to announce that the External Affairs Office of the City of Amsterdam is offering free canal tour tickets for all ISTR Conference attendees.  Tickets can be picked up at the registration desk and will be valid July 10-July 14. 

Story Collider Storytelling Workshop

Tuesday July 10, 2018, 9am-12pm, 50 spots available by registration only.  Sign up by completing this short registration form.

The best available science tells us that for most audiences, stories are more interesting, understandable, convincing, and memorable than evidence‐focused communications. However, scientists are unfamiliar with this literature and often resist or distrust storytelling approaches. This storytelling workshop explores how to develop and tell personal stories about science with intellectual honesty and ethical consideration. Lecture and discussion will share research on storytelling and narrative persuasion and highlight the value of personal stories in science. Participants will learn how to find, develop, and perform their own deeply human stories of science.   This workshop will be facilitated by Story Collider.

Professional Development Seminars: Supporting ISTR’s Emerging Scholars

Designed to support recent PhD graduates and those in the early stages of their careers, but of course open to all, ISTR is pleased to offer 5 professional development seminars at the conference:

  • Academic job interviews
  • The Non-Academic Job Market
  • Navigating Job-market and Career Strategies
  • Post-doc opportunities
  • Teaching AND Learning: Perspectives on Engaged Scholarship in the Third Sector
Meet the Author – Book Signing

Authors of books published in the last two years are invited to sign and sell their books at the conference during our “Meet the Author” session. There is no charge to participate!  Bring a display copy of your book and order forms for delegates to fill out, or contact your publisher and ask them to send books for sale.  Please complete the short form here to participate.

Crowdfunding to fetch our T-rex: A lot of coins for a lot of old bones

Guest post by Claire van Teunenbroek, 3rd year PhD student at the Center for Philanthropic Studies at VU University. You can read more about Claire’s research on her blog here.

Trix the T.rex: a successful Dutch crowdfunding project

A long time ago far away from Amsterdam, ‘Trix’ the Tyrannosaurus (T-rex) roamed the earth. She stood twelve meters tall, weighed five thousand kilos and had more than 50 sharp teeth of about 20 centimetres long. These days, the T-rex skeleton (lovingly dubbed “Trix,” which is a common Dutch pet name and the nickname for our previous queen) travels through Europe thanks to more than 23,000 Dutch donors. After the tour, the T-rex will be on permanent display at the Naturalis, a Dutch museum of Biodiversity.

The bones of this beautiful female T-Rex, who lived about 66 to 67 million years ago, were found in Montana, USA during an expedition in 2013.  When the cost to collect all the bones and ship them to the Netherlands proved to be too high, the museum started a charitable campaign to collect money to make their dream of displaying a complete T-rex skeleton come true.

Crowdfunding: transparent, democratic and full of rewards

Fortunately for the museum, much of the Dutch population shared their dream and were more than willing to contribute small donations to the cause.  The museum decided to launch a crowdfunding campaign and assembled 5 million Euros in mostly small donations (e.g. most donors gave 10 euros).

Online crowdfunding developed in 2006, primarily in the arts and creative-based industries.  One of the first crowdfunding platforms was the music oriented platform Sellaband, developed in the Netherlands in 2006. Crowdfunding is an increasingly applied instrument; the reward-based crowdfunding platform Voordekunst hosted 712 projects with a success rate of 81% and 40.107 donors contributed a total donation amount of €3.558.549.

piggy bank

An interesting characteristic of crowdfunding is the transparent nature of the funding tool: the solicitor provides a detailed description of how they will use the funds up front.  In the case of our T-rex, the museum had to describe where Trix would be displayed. And because crowdfunding engages more people, it could be described as more democratic than previously used door-to-door campaigns. By donating to the T-rex cause, the Dutch donors were able to validate the campaign to bring Trix to the Netherlands.

Why is the transparency of crowdfunding important?

Worldwide, donors are more critical and conscious about the effect of their donation and expect non-profits to be more open both before and after receiving the donation.   Non-profits that are more transparent about how the funding will be used to have an impact attract more donors.  Moreover, are increasingly involving their donors in conversations and letting the donors take leadership in deciding which projects to start.

Why is the democratic factor in crowdfunding important?

Maintaining transparency after a donation is made is just as important, reflecting a shift from the donor as ‘giver’ towards ‘contributor.’ More than ever, individuals want to do more than opening their wallets, they want to be included and expect some form of a lasting relationship after the donation is made that allows the donor to observe the lasting impact of their donation.

 Crowdfunding for the cultural sector in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, it is not uncommon or new for the cultural sector to turn towards philanthropy as a method of financial survival. Financial aid in the form of donations for the cultural sector can be traced back as far as the Golden Age, when a group called the Maecenas started to financially support cultural institutions and individual artists.

After the financial crisis of 2008, the Dutch economy faced important challenges. First, the government was forced to decrease spending, which especially impacted the cultural sector, which had been heavily dependent on government subsidies.

cultural sector

However, the increasing pressure on philanthropic sources might not be ideal for the cultural sector. Most Dutch individuals (93%) judge the cultural sector as an unimportant goal for the general public. Not surprisingly, the cultural sector receives few donations (12% of the Dutch households donate to cultural projects). In an attempt to fill the financial gap, the government has encouraged an increased support from the third sector. For example, to stimulate donations to cultural projects, the Dutch government multiplied donations made to cultural institutions. However, this strategy did not result in more donations.

Crowdfunding as the next step?

Crowdfunding will not solve all the funding problems of the third sector, but this new funding tool could help to increase the reach of charitable organizations.  I think that crowdfunding is a logical next step for the non-profit sector as government support decreases because crowdfunding is a relatively cheap method for reaching a large crowd. Also, it might attract new donors who are more critically about the return on their investment and are concerned about impact and transparency.   More practically, crowdfunding connects with the current lifestyle of donors who spend daily time online.

Still, the impact of crowdfunding in charity is relatively small; in 2011 only 9% per cent of the Dutch population contributed online to charity organizations. Amounts raised through crowdfunding increase, but they account for less than 1% of giving in the Netherlands.

Trix will be on display at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris during the ISTR Conference (she is currently in Barcelona), but we hope you will come back and visit in 2019 when the museum reopens.

Advertise and Exhibit at the ISTR Conference

Exhibit and advertise at our upcoming conference! Engage with 800+ leading nonprofit, civil society, and philanthropy scholars from all parts of the world – to promote your products and services and expand your networks.

Print and mobile device ads

Advertise in the printed conference program and on the conference app to make sure your colleagues know about your academic program, recent publications, scholars, services, and share announcements.  All participants will receive a copy of the printed program and will be able to download the app for free.  Rotating mobile device banner ads can link out to your website to provide users with more information.

Get a discount for print and app combined purchases.  It’s easy to order online. See prices on our website.

Exhibit tables

Reserve an exhibit table adjacent to our popular coffee breaks and engage continuously with attendees.

  • demonstrate publishing services
  • sell books and publications
  • promote academic centers and programs
  • Exhibitors will have their logos featured on our mobile conference app

See prices on our website.

Space is available on a first-come/first-served basis.

 

Conference planning announcements

This is the time of year when a great deal of information about the conference becomes available on our website, so be sure to check in and see what is new.  Recent developments include the following:

  1. Notifications of accepted abstracts have been sent to all submitters.  If you have not received your notification, please contact us (istr_secretariat@jhu.edu) and we can clarify the status of your abstract.
  2. The preliminary conference schedule has been posted on our website.  Take a look so that you can begin planning your arrival and departure times.
  3. Speaking of travel, ISTR has partnered up with Air France and KLM to offer you discounted airfare and blocks of hotel rooms have been secured for conference participants at several hotels in the area.  Check out our Travel and Lodging page for more information, and for details about getting around in Amsterdam.
  4. Participants from some countries will require visas, and ISTR is ready to help prepare letters in support of your application.  Become a member of ISTR, pay your conference registration fee, and then fill out the online form here and we will prepare a letter in short order.
  5. Limited registration subsidies will be available to students and members from low-income countries.  Be sure to apply by February 15 here.
  6. And finally, be sure to check in regularly with the Special Events page to learn more about workshops and special sessions being organized for the conference.