Studies and Reports

HBI carries out applied research on topics of interest and importance to nonprofit organizations, the nonprofit sector, nonprofit management, and leadership, philanthropy, and related topics. Below are some of the applied research projects completed over the years.


Civic Health of Wisconsin: Connectedness in Context

In partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship and a coalition of nonpartisan Wisconsin organizations including HBI, the Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies at UW-Madison presented this inaugural report on Wisconsin’s civic health. The report is based on the 2019 Wisconsin Civic Health Index™, which measures residents’ civic engagement and community connectedness. These data are presented alongside Wisconsin demographic information, civics education standards, trends in local politics and news, and current civic health efforts.


Understanding & Supporting Milwaukee Nonprofits

During the autumn of 2019, The Helen Bader Institute for Nonprofit Management at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in partnership with Project Pivot, conducted a survey of Milwaukee nonprofit leaders to ask the question, “What do the nonprofits in our community need and how can those needs be met?”  The study, guided by an Advisory Council, involved a survey of Milwaukee-area nonprofit organizations conducted by HBI. Our survey of Milwaukee nonprofits and analysis of the data has been completed and Project Pivot’s summary presentation of the survey results is now available. In addition, more detailed data is available for download.


Nonprofit Wisconsin: In Brief

This Wisconsin Nonprofit “Size & Scope” report provides an overview of the State’s nonprofit sector. The report is designed to promote an understanding of the importance of Wisconsin’s nonprofit sector to the well-being of Wisconsin’s citizens.


Racial Diversity in the Staff Leadership of Milwaukee’s Nonprofit Organizations (2011)

This 2010 follow-up to “Leadership Diversity in Milwaukee-Area Nonprofits” is to identify and explore successful strategies used by nonprofits to recruit and retain people of color in top leadership and second-level positions in nonprofits in Milwaukee County. The longer-term goal is to use that information to increase the number of people of color in Milwaukee’s nonprofit leadership.


Leadership Diversity in Milwaukee-Area Nonprofits: A Benchmark Study (2008)

This study, commissioned by the Diversity Committee of the Helen Bader Institute, examines important questions regarding Milwaukee’s nonprofit sector, including: (1) How diverse is the sector’s top-level leadership? (2) Is the sector developing a diverse pool of emerging leaders? (3) Are there factors that predict nonprofit leadership diversity? (4) To what extent is the issue of nonprofit leadership diversity on Milwaukee’s radar screen? The overall goal of this and follow-up studies is to determine whether local efforts to diversify Milwaukee’s nonprofit sector leadership are making a difference. [Overview Report]


Arts and Culture in Southeastern Wisconsin: The Public Speaks (2005)

This survey explores public participation in nonprofit arts and culture programs in Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin, assessing public support for these programs.


Wisconsin Nonprofit Capacity Building Survey (2005)

This survey of over 6,000 Wisconsin nonprofits assesses the feasibility of establishing a statewide association of nonprofits in Wisconsin.


Leadership Change in Nonprofit Milwaukee: Making Transitions Work (2005)

In the fall of 2004, nonprofit executive directors in the greater Milwaukee area were surveyed in order to gather information about the potential scope and impact of executive leadership turnover and to inform strategies to address the pending shift in leaders. As part of the first national study of leadership transition in the nonprofit sector, the Milwaukee survey was one of 24 conducted nationwide.


Inventory of Latino Organizations in Metro Milwaukee (2003)

Funded by the Nonprofit Management Fund as part of the national Hispanics in Philanthropy Project, this CUIR project inventoried existing and emerging nonprofit organizations led or governed by Latinos and serving primarily Latino constituencies in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties.


Social Entrepreneurship Study (2003)

This research project was designed to learn more about the extent of social entrepreneurship activities among nonprofit organizations in the Greater Milwaukee area and their interest in further study of such ventures.