Sustainability of Non-Profit Organizations: A Systematic Review

Nur Hayati Ab Samad, Noor Hazlina Ahmad, Khadijah Suria


This study aims to present the state of the academic literature on the sustainability of non-profit organizations (NPOs) and how previous researchers have approached NPO sustainability. The review has resulted in the final 30 articles for review and analysis. The research characteristics of the articles are identified by examining the publication outlet. It is observed that research in the 1990s on NPO sustainability is scarce, with a focus on understanding and identifying models of sustainability. Research in the first decade of the 21st Century has focused on the financial and non-financial approaches to address the sustainability of NPO. Meanwhile, research in the 21st Century's second decade acknowledged the need to integrate the diverse perspective of NPO sustainability into a comprehensive framework. This study found various approaches that influence NPO sustainability: financial or economic approach; organizational characteristics and strategy; capacity building; partnership or collaboration; and value-based perspective. Theoretically, this study provides an overall view of how academic researchers have attempted to address NPOs' sustainability. In terms of practical contribution, this study serves as a guide for the NPOs and relevant regulators on how to address the organization’s sustainability from various perspectives. We further set out suggestions for future research as well as the limitations and contributions of this study.

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Accounting and Finance Research
ISSN 1927-5986 (Print)   ISSN 1927-5994 (Online) Email:

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