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Technical Communication and the Needs of Small 501(c)(3) Organizations
This exploratory study examines documentation practices and processes in ten small non-profit organizations. The objectives of this study were to answer the following two research questions: (1) What organizational needs do small non-profit organizations have that are relevant to technical communication? and (2) How are small 501(c)(3) organizations attempting to meet these needs? Which of these attempted solutions are ineffective? Semi-structured interviews were conducted with two people from each organization: the executive director and a volunteer. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed, and grounded theory was used to identify coding categories related to documentation development. Primary findings suggest that interviewees are aware that they need documentation, yet they often postpone developing such documentation until problems develop. The study findings also suggest that interviewees across different nonprofit organizations value documentation for similar reasons. Strategies are provided for technical communicators interested in working with nonprofit organizations, and additional research avenues are identified.