Current Research Lab Projects

The mission of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Lab is to strengthen the role of mission driven organizations in society. We apply qualitative methodologies to assess crises facing the sector and to make sense of societal perceptions of voluntary action.

Centralizing Black Students' Voices During COVID-19 and BLM at the University of Florida

In this student-led project, we use photovoice and listening sessions to (1) assess perceptions of student support provided by the University of Florida (UF) during COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) Movement, (2) gauge the role of community nonprofits in helping support Black students, and (3) identify solutions to support UF’s Black students during crisis.

Research Assistants: Gabriella Alexis, Lead Research Assistant; Chandler LeBlanc, Research Coordinator; Alina McCloud, Research Assistant; Terrence Vialva, Research Assistant; Kenya Byrd, Research Assistant (FAMU)

Research Faculty: Kimberly Wiley, PI; Jeneé Duncan, Co-PI; Michelle Abraczinskas, Co-PI

Research Consultant: Zoe Flowers

Funded by: UF Research Advancing Racial Justice Research Grant

Nonprofits Engaging on TikTok

Our team of 10 TikTok coders utilized a mixed methods research design to textually analyze 1,160 microvlogs to identify patterns in the behavior of 58 nonprofit TikTok accounts. In stage one of the analysis, we qualitatively coded the microvlogs using Lovejoy and Saxton’s social media hierarchy of engagement framework (2012). In stage two, we analyze user engagement through likes, comments, shares, and followers using Python’s TikTok API package and regression modeling at the case level. Through this two-step analysis, we interpret the nonprofits’ behavior alongside their followers’ engagement to determine which nonprofit engagement strategy is most successful to garner attention. In Stage three, we interview nonprofit leaders and social media managers about their social media strategy on TikTok.

Research Team: Chelsea DeMasters, Marlen Barajas Espinosa, Katherine Morgan, Micayla Richardson, Kayla Schoewer, and Dr. Kimberly Wiley

TikTok Coding Team: Isaiah Arias, Marlen Barajas, Brianna Burte, Chelsea DeMasters, Alanna Koch, Fraleigh Krause, Micalya Richardson, Talia Skollar, Kayla Schwoerer, and Kim Wiley


DeMasters, C.* and Morgan, K.* (September 2021). Nonprofit Social Media Messaging on TikTok: Examining conditions under which strategy aligns with content output for microvlogs. Online.

Richardson, M.*, Wiley, K., Schwoerer, K.* Schwoerer, K.* (April 2021) Garnering Attention on Social Media: A Multi-level Analysis of Nonprofit Behavior on TikTok. West Coast Nonprofit Data Conference. Online.

Richardson, M.* Wiley, K., Schwoerer, K.* (March 2021) Garnering Attention on Social Media: A Multi-level Analysis of Nonprofit Behavior on TikTok. UF Undergraduate Research Symposium. Online.

Portrayals of Volunteering on TV

A team of undergraduate research assistants worked collaboratively to identify over 132 examples of volunteering portrayed on US television. We used textual analysis to identify themes in the portrayals. Our findings provide an opportunity to advise volunteer managers of how pop culture messaging influences what volunteers might expect when they arrive at the organization’s door.


Wiley, K., Thomas, B. and Skollar, T. (2021) The Paradox of Coerced Volunteering: An Analysis of Charity as Punishment on U.S. Television. Association for Research on Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Conference. Atlanta, GA.

Wiley, K. and Evans, M. (2019) What Volunteer Managers Can Learn from Binge-Watching TV. Voluntary Sector and Volunteering Research Conference. Birmingham, U.K.


Wiley, K. (2022). Investigating meanings and messages on volunteering through television media. In Researching Voluntary Action: Innovations and Challenges, Eds Jon Dean and Eddy Hogg. Policy Press.

Wiley, K. and Evans, M.* (2021). Portrayals of Volunteering on U.S. Television: A Textual Analysis. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 0(0), 1-23.

Ecology of Food and Agriculture Nonprofits in Florida

A UF-based team will collaborate with Florida A&M University, an 1890 land grant institution, and Gainesville-based nonprofit, Working Food Community Center to enhance collaboration between Extension and local nonprofit organizations in Florida. We’ll focus on organizations that share Extension’s programmatic goals with regard to sustainable agriculture, conservation of resources, and improved nutritional outcomes, particularly for food insecure communities.

The project objectives are: (1) To build expertise in Florida’s agriculture and natural resources CES agents so they can then provide needed training and technical assistance on capacity building to food and agriculture nonprofit organizations; (2) Establish an electronic repository of training materials on nonprofit capacity building in food and agriculture organizations; and (3) Build a web-based directory of food and agriculture nonprofit organizations to support partnerships between Cooperative Extension and nonprofit organizations.

Funded by: Southern SARE Professional Development Program Grant