This article provides a novel measure of nonprofit political ideology using semantic text analysis of public Internal Revenue Service filings. It explores the relationship between electoral competition and private donations.
Mission statements of over 150,000 U.S. nonprofits are matched to Congressional speeches to classify ideology on a political spectrum. The measure is validated against established ideology scores. Donation data are analyzed to examine if donors strategically countervail expected policy changes after elections.
The proposed measure shows a significant correlation with other ideology metrics. Donations are found to move in sync with ideological shifts of the government rather than to countervail expected policy changes after elections.
The mission statement-based measure enables studying nonprofit positioning. Findings suggest expressive motivations make donation trends complementary to voting trends.