"Volunteer Engagement & Management"
Volume XXIX, No. 2 (November 2012)
FROM THE EDITOR
In This Issue: Addressing key aspects of volunteer resource management
The Volunteer Experience of Chinese Immigrants in Canada
Juan Xie, Ph.D., Alie Ross, Victor Maddalena, Ph.D., Hao Wu, Jing Wang, & Peizhong Peter Wang, Ph.D.
Volunteering is one of the most common, yet least studied social behaviors in Western society. Even less is known about volunteering among immigrants. Knowledge about volunteering among Chinese Canadians is largely based
on anecdotes. Using secondary analysis of a Chinese-community-based age-stratified sample, the study reported here examined the meaning of, and factors influencing, volunteer activity in the community. Information collected from 289 Chinese immigrant participants from the Greater Toronto Area was included in the analysis. Descriptive and multivariate statistical methods were used to analyze the data. The results suggest 17.3% of the participants reported current volunteer activity and 34.9% of all participants have volunteered at some time in the past.
“Helping others and enriching own life” (49.5%) was the most frequently reported reason for volunteering. The leading reason for not volunteering was “no time” at 45.7%. Logistic regression analysis found that individuals who were not married and those who lived in Canada for 5 or more years were more likely to have volunteered or be a current volunteer. The results suggest volunteer activity is not well predicted by sociodemographic (e.g. age, sex, education) characteristics. This study contributes to a new understanding of volunteer participation among Chinese immigrants in Canada. ... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteer, Chinese immigrant, Canada
Demographics and Perceptions of Master Gardener Volunteers in Oregon
Gail Ann Langellotto-Rhodaback, Ph.D. & Weston Miller
Master Gardener is a university-sponsored program, where trained volunteers expand the outreach of faculty members by delivering research-based education and advice to home and community gardeners. It requires substantial resources to effectively train Master Gardener volunteers. Thus, volunteer resource managers can maximize this initial investment by retaining high quality volunteers after they have completed their initial training and service obligation. To understand the best ways to recruit and retain high quality volunteers, we conducted a statewide survey of the Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener program to assess the benefits that Master Gardener volunteers receive from their participation in the program. The survey also focused on volunteer demographics. The majority of the 781 individuals who responded to the survey were Caucasian, female and between the ages of 56 and 85. Volunteers identified access to information about horticulture, as well as understanding and knowledge, as the strongest benefits of volunteering. Survey results suggest that recruitment and retention of volunteers will work best when programs offer a variety of high-quality training opportunities for both new and continuing volunteers, and when trainings, service requirements and plant clinics can be offered evenings and weekends as well as during weekday hours. Future studies will assess whether or not alternative offerings significantly broaden the demographics of Master Gardener volunteers in Oregon...... link to pdf
Key Words: Master Gardener, volunteer retention, volunteer demographics
Services Offered by Voluntary Associations: Do Citizens Trust in Them or Not? A Survey in an Italian Sample
Daniela Acquadro Maran, Ph.D.
Voluntary associations are an example of a relationship based on trust and are indicators of a civil, participative, and democratic society. However, do citizens, as those who make use of voluntary associations, trust in the services provided by volunteers? In an attempt to answer this question we conducted a descriptive research study in Italy involving 120 citizens who had or had not experienced the services offered by voluntary associations: the goal was to describe and analyze the trust in those services and the perception of volunteers’ skills and abilities to meet citizens’ needs. Suggestions are also provided to voluntary associations regarding strategies for responding to citizens’ needs. ... link to pdf
Key Words: citizen, trust, volunteerism, association, Italy
Volunteers as a unique organizational resource: Conceptualizations in practice and
management responses – Lessons from Switzerland
Sibylle Studer & Georg von Schnurbein, Ph.D.
Volunteers’ contribution to non-profit organizations (NPO) is immense, and it is often argued that they provide complementary, rather than substitute services. Exploring in as far volunteers are perceived as a unique organizational resource, this article discusses literature and qualitative data of 22 interviews with 3 expert groups: volunteer resource managers, volunteer researchers, and representatives of Benevol Switzerland, Association of Competence Centers for Volunteering. The data shows that volunteers are perceived as a unique resource, whereas the explicitness with respect to the volunteers’ role and position in the organization varies. Our interviewees highlight the uniqueness of volunteers’ in moments of refection about the added values of volunteers such as ‘heart competence’, ambassadorial representation, critical inputs and spirit. Volunteer resource managers respond to the uniqueness of volunteers by persuasion, multilinguism, empathy, framing boundedness and feedback. These alternative volunteer resource management strategies focus on emotion, interaction and negotiation in order to create a dialog between the organization and the volunteers, appreciating the distinctive features of volunteers. The findings show that reflection about the uniqueness of the volunteer resource reveal management responses which have a high potential to complement traditional human resource management (HRM) instruments. Further research is needed on how these two approaches - HRM and management responses to the uniqueness of volunteers’ - can be effectively combined. ... link to pdf
Key Words: added value, volunteer resource, volunteer management
IDEAS AT WORK
Cognitive Apprenticeship as a Pathway to Building Capacity in Not-for-Profit Committees
This article presents a specific problem in regard to building the governance and managerial capacity of volunteers within not-for-profit clubs. Developing “fit for purpose” training and development to meet the needs of volunteers is an on-going challenge for educators and volunteer club support organisations particularly within a context of resource constraints and a dynamic environment. Given the governance and managerial expectations of volunteer committees there exists a need to improve the capacity of such committees in order to enable “sustained effectiveness” in terms of financial and human capital within the clubs. Within this context, social learning methods have a long history in providing frameworks to help novices become experts, which is congruent with the preferred methods of skill building for these volunteers. Cognitive apprenticeship in educational practice is well founded in social learning methods and can become the “scaffold” by which building and sustaining capacity for these volunteers can be achieved. The solution involves using a model of training and development that incorporates scaffolding and mentoring as instructional strategies with coaching being used to integrate the elements. ... link to pdf
Key Words: capacity building, mentoring, cognitive apprenticeship
Identifying and Learning from Exemplary Volunteer Resource Managers: A Look at BestPractices in Managing Volunteer Resources
Amanda M. Backer, Joseph A. Allen, Ph.D., & Daniel L. Bonilla
Nonprofit organizations thrive to the extent that their volunteer resource manager follows best practices for hiring, training, and managing volunteers. In an effort to identify some of the best practices in volunteer management, exemplary volunteer resources managers were identified from a consulting outreach program. These managers were then interviewed and the results from these interviews are presented here. Volunteer resource managers shared their best practices for improving volunteer organizational commitment, organizational recognition of volunteers, volunteer satisfaction with communication, volunteer perception of voice, volunteer competence & volunteer contribution, and volunteer burnouts & intentions to quit. In addition to presenting these practices, commentary includes ideas on implementation in general. ... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteer resource management, best practices, nonprofit organizations, commitment, burnout