Headshot of Dr. Chao Guo

Chao Guo, PhD

  • Professor of Nonprofit Management

  • Editor-in-Chief, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly

3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
  • office: 215.898.5532
  • fax: 215.573.2099

Research Interests

Technology and nonprofits

Representation and advocacy

Collaboration within and across sectors

Social entrepreneurship

Chao Guo is Professor of Nonprofit Management in the School of Social Policy and Practice, and Associate Faculty Director of Fox Leadership International, both at the University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, and his BA in International Relations from Renmin University of China.

Chao’s research interests focus on the intersection between nonprofit and voluntary action and government. More specifically, he conducts research on the contributions of nonprofit organizations to democratic governance, collaboration within and across sectors, social entrepreneurship, and the role and effects of new media on nonprofit organizations. He has many published articles in highly respected and influential journals, and has published two books: Social Entrepreneurship: An Evidence-Based Approach to Creating Social Value (Wiley, 2014; co-authored with Wolfgang Bielefeld); and The Quest for Attention: Nonprofit Advocacy in a Social Media Age (Stanford University Press, 2020; co-authored with Gregory D. Saxton). His research has been recognized by his peers and won awards from multiple disciplines.

Chao is actively involved in professional and community service activities. At Penn, he serves as Faculty Director of Penn Restorative Entrepreneurship Program (PREP), an innovative program geared towards helping formerly incarcerated individuals become entrepreneurs, participate in civic engagement, and advocate for social justice. He is Editor-in-Chief of Nonprofit & Voluntary Sector Quarterly, the premier journal in the field. He is also a co-editor of the Brill Nonprofit Sector Research Series and serves on the editorial boards of many other journals. He has served on the boards of directors of the Association of Research on Nonprofit Organizations & Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) and the Nonprofit Quarterly (NPQ), among others. Globally, he has helped ARNOVA create a regional conference series in Asia (ARNOVA-Asia), co-chairing its initial three conferences in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taipei/Taichung, respectively (2017-2019). He has also served as founding co-director of the Institute for Philanthropy & Social Innovation at Renmin University of China.

In 2015, Guo accepted an invitation to become a Penn Fellow. In 2018, he received the Education Leadership Award from Rescue Mission of Trenton, an over-100-year-old nonprofit organization that acts as a field partner of PREP. In 2019, he was selected to receive the Distinguished Achievement and Service Award from ARNOVA.

Guo, C., and Saxton, G.D. (2020). The Quest for Attention: Nonprofit Advocacy in a Social Media Age. Stanford University Press.

Guo, C., and Bielefeld,W. (2014). Social Entrepreneurship: An Evidence-Based Approach to Creating Social Value. Jossey-Bass/Wiley.

Gazley, B., and Guo, C. (2020). “What do We Know about Nonprofit Collaboration? A Systematic Review of the Literature.” Nonprofit Management & Leadership. In press. DOI:

Zhang, Z., and Guo, C. (2020). “Nonprofit-Government Relations in Authoritarian China: A Review and Synthesis of the Chinese Literature.” Administration & Society. In press. DOI:

Saxton, G.D., Ren, C., and Guo, C. (2020). “Responding to Stakeholders on Social Media: Stakeholder Salience and Firm Reactions to CSR-related Twitter Messages”. Journal of Business Ethics. In press. DOI:

Zhang, Z., and Guo, C. (2020). “Together Making a Difference: A Configurational Study of Nonprofit Advocacy Effectiveness.” Public Performance & Management Review. In press. DOI:

Saxton, G., and Guo, C. (2020). “Social Media Capital: Conceptualizing the Nature, Acquisition, and Expenditure of Social Media-Based Organizational Resources.” International Journal of Accounting Information Systems. In press. DOI:

Zhang, Z., and Guo, C. (2020). “Still Hold Aloft the Banner of Social Change? Nonprofit Advocacy in the Wave of Commercialization.” International Review of Administrative Sciences. In press. DOI:

Guo, C., and Lai, W. (2019). “Community Foundations in China: In Search of Identity?” VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 30(4).

McNutt, J., Guo, C., Goldkind, L., & An, S. (2018). “Technology in Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.” Voluntaristics Review, 3(1), 1-63.

Greeson, J., Xue, J., An, S., Thompson, A., & Guo, C. (2018). “Tweeting Social Work: How Social Work Faculty Use Social Media.” The British Journal of Social Work, 48(7), 2038–2057.

Guo, C., and Saxton, G.D. (2018). “Speaking and Being Heard: How Advocacy Organizations Gain Attention on Social Media.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 47(1) 5–26.

An, S., Wu, V., & Guo, C. (2017). How Stakeholder Mobilization Saved Sweet Briar College. Journal of Nonprofit Education & Leadership, Special Issue 2, 4–10.

Hu, M., Guo, C., and Bies, A. (2016) “Termination of Nonprofit Alliances: Evidence from China.” VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 27(5), 2490-2513.

Hu, M., and Guo, C. (2016) “Fundraising Policy Reform and its Impact on Nonprofits in China: A View from the Trenches.” Nonprofit Policy Forum, 7(2), 213–236.

Zhang, Z., and Guo, C. (2015) “University-Based Nonprofit Education in China: An Overview and Assessment.” Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 5(4), 289-304.

Peck, L., and Guo, C. (2015) “How Does Public Assistance Use Affect Charitable Activity? A Tale of Two Methods.”  Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 44(4), 665-685.

Saxton, G. D., Niyirora, J., Waters, R. D., and Guo, C. (2015) “#AdvocatingForChange:  The Strategic Use of Hashtags in Social Media Advocacy.” Advances in Social Work, 16(1), 154-169.

Yan, J., Guo, C., and Paarlberg, L. (2014) “Are Nonprofit Antipoverty Organizations Located Where They Are Needed? A Spatial Analysis of Census Tracts in Greater Hartford.” The American Statistician, 68(4), 243-252.

Saxton, G.D., and Guo, C. (2014) “Online Stakeholder Targeting and the Acquisition of Social Media Capital.” International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 19(4), 286-300.

Guo, C., and Zhang, Z. (2014) “Understanding Nonprofit Advocacy in Non-Western Settings: A Framework and Empirical Evidence from Singapore.” VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 25(5), 1151-1174.

Saxton, G.D., Neely, D., and Guo, C. (2014) “Web Disclosure and the Market for Charitable Contributions.” Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, 33(2), 127-144.

Guo, C., and Saxton, G.D. (2014). “Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 43(1), 57-79.

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