Viviana Wu

Viviana Wu

Assistant Professor

University of Massachusetts Amherst


I am an Assistant Professor at the UMass Amherst School of Public Policy. As a nonprofit scholar, I employ quantitative, qualitative, and computational methods to investigate how nonprofits, foundations, and communities advance social and policy change through philanthropy, leadership, and social media advocacy. Rather than taking for granted that all nonprofits are created equal, my research also probes the inequality within the nonprofit and philanthropic sector across place and time in the US context. Collectively, my work advances theoretical development and fosters a critical understanding of how inequality manifests in the nonprofit sector, alongside endeavors to democratize power and promote distributive justice. Check out my ongoing and published work on my project page here or on ResearchGate.

I have published in leading nonprofit and public management journals, including Public Management Review, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Voluntas, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and Academy of Management Proceedings. My research has received the Editors’ Prize for Best Scholarly Paper in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, the ARNOVA Best Conference Paper Award, the Emerging Scholar Award, and the RGK-ARNOVA President’s Research Award. My research has been funded externally by the RGK Foundation, the Institute for Humane Studies, the Generosity Commission, the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA), and the University of Pennsylvania.

I served as the Managing Editor of NVSQ (2015-2020) and currently serve on the leadership teams for the Donor Advised Fund Common Interest Group, the Data and Analytics Section (DAS), Theory, Issues, Boundaries Section (TIBS), Development Committee and consultative working groups of ARNOVA. I am a nonprofit scholar, an aspiring ceramicist, a new mom, and a Hongkonger.


  • Philanthropy and nonprofit management
  • Inequality and place disadvantage
  • Social media advocacy
  • Computational methods, Text as Data


  • PhD in Social Welfare (Nonprofit Mgmt)

    University of Pennsylvania

  • MS in Nonprofit Leadership

    University of Pennsylvania

  • LLB (Bachelor of Law)

    University of Hong Kong

  • BSocSc in Government & Laws

    University of Hong Kong


SPP 608 Statistics for Public Policy in R [ Website ] & [ R Labs ]

SPP 607 Policy Methods [ Syllabus ]

MSSP 897 Applied Linear Modeling [ R Labs ]

Recent Publications

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  1. Wu, V. C. S., & Xu, W. W. (2023, in press). Who Leads and Who Echoes? Tracing Message Similarity Network of #ClimateChange Advocacy on Twitter. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. [ Paper ]

  2. Wu, V. C. S. (2023). Exploring donor influence and public engagement: Computational and thematic analyses of social media messages. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. [ Paper ]

  3. Wu, V. C. S. (2023). Beyond policy patrons: A ‘MADE’ framework for examining public engagement efforts of philanthropic foundations on Twitter. Public Management Review. [ Paper ]

  4. Wu, V. C. S. (2021). Community leadership as multidimensional capacities: A conceptual framework and preliminary findings for community foundations. Nonprofit Management and Leadership. [ Paper ]

  • 2023 Editors’ Prize for the Best Scholarly Paper, Nonprofit Management and Leadership
  1. Wu, V. C. S. (2021). The geography and the disparities of community philanthropy: A community assessment model of needs, resources and ecological environment. VOLUNTAS. International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations. [ Paper ]

  2. Wu, V. C. S. (2018). Where do community foundations locate? Examining community needs and resources for redistribution. Academy of Management Proceedings. [ Paper ]

  3. An, S., Wu, V. C. S., & Guo, C. (2017). How stakeholder mobilization saved Sweet Briar College. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership. [ Paper ]

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