Nonprofit Entrepreneurship: Gender Differences in Strategy and Practice

Leonor Camarena, Mary K. Feeney, Jesse Lecy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is evidence of meaningful gender differences in behaviors, resources, and outcomes for traditional and social entrepreneurs. We examine if these differences exist among nonprofit entrepreneurs—those who found organizations in a sector where women outnumber men and the activities of many nonprofits are perceived as feminine. Using survey data from 667 nonprofit founders, we investigate human, social, and financial capital differences between men and women. We find no gender differences in human capital before starting a nonprofit. We find gendered differences in founding approaches—women are more likely to take on full-time roles during the start-up phase and utilize volunteers, while men take on more financial debt. Although gender differences between nonprofit founders are not as extensive as those found among traditional and social entrepreneurs, our findings indicate more equitable opportunities for female nonprofit entrepreneurs. These findings highlight the opportunities for interrogating the gendering of nonprofit development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • entrepreneurship
  • gender
  • nonprofit entrepreneurship
  • nonprofit management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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