Viral Growth in a Small Nonprofit Organization: A Case Study About the Nexus of Governance, Accountability, and Organizational Development




governance, accountability, regulation, organizational development, public relations


Invisible Children is a U.S.-based, international nonprofit organization located in San Diego, California. The organization was founded in 2004, and between 2009 and 2012, the organization’s revenue rose dramatically in large part because of a video that “went viral” on social media. The story of Invisible Children as narrated by the organization’s IRS Forms 990 is a powerful case study for nonprofit students, staff, and board members. The activity described in this article allows students to engage directly with IRS Form 990 data and to experience firsthand the connection between data presented on this form and a nonprofit organization’s reputation. The case also allows for rich discussions about the nexus and interplay of nonprofit governance, regulation, transparency, and organizational development. 

Author Biography

Jennifer Amanda Jones, University of Florida

Assistant Professor





Teaching Case Study