“A Focus on Professionalism”
Volume XXVII, No. 1 (March 2010)
FROM THE EDITOR
The Meaning of “Professionalism” in the 21st Century ... link to pdf
Volunteer Web Site Effectiveness: Attracting Volunteers via the Web
Joseph Allen, Adrian Goh, Steven Rogelberg, Ph.D., & Anna Currie, M.B.A.
Volunteer programs are shifting towards the use of web sites to recruit volunteers. Using previously recommended practices for web site management, the authors analyzed 93 web sites of volunteer-based animal welfare organizations regarding 14 best practices in web design and management. On average, the organizations used nine of the 14 best practices. The most commonly used practices included (1) providing a link to the volunteer program web page and (2) providing an organizational mission statement. The least commonly used practices included (1) providing information for future orientation sessions and (2) providing a volunteer program mission statement. Analyses further indicated that the number of best practices used is related to the number of volunteers at each program even after controlling for the overall size of the organization or the availability of resources (i.e., total revenue). Implications for volunteer resource managers are discussed. ... link to pdf
Key Words: web site, best practice, volunteer resource management, recruitment
What Do We Really Know about Nonprofits’ Capacity to Manage Volunteers?
Sarah Jane Rehnborg, Ph.D., Christine Sinatra, M.P.A., & Angela Bies, Ph.D.
Volunteers play an integral role within nonprofit organizations and have a unique place in the development and evolution of the nonprofit sector. Yet limited efforts have been made to study the impact on and import of their work to the overall capacity of organizations. This article summarizes current learning about volunteer resource management and organizational capacity; compares findings from two major studies of volunteer resource management and capacity building; and offers new insights about differing conceptualizations of volunteers in organizational capacity. The paper underscores the importance of the value of investments in volunteer resource management, examines the role of volunteer coordinators and executive directors in determining volunteers’ impacts on organizational capacity, and discusses challenges unique to managing an unpaid workforce. In particular, the authors highlight contrasting stakeholder perceptions between volunteers and volunteer resource managers regarding organizational capacity and discuss why these differences are important. ... link to pdf
Key Words: capacity, volunteers, volunteer resource management
Preparing for the Expanding Role of Cybervolunteerism in the New Millennium:
An Application of the ROPES Model of Public Relations
Richard D. Waters, Ph.D., & Denise Sevick Bortree, Ph.D.
Given the continued expansion of technology into everyday life for large segments of the American public, nonprofit organizations have to consider implementing cybervolunteer programs if they seek to retain volunteers in the new millennium. The ROPES model of public relations provides an outline for an organization to introduce new concepts and foster relationship growth with targeted audiences. This article outlines how the ROPES model (i.e., Research, Objectives, Programming, Evaluation, Stewardship) may be used to introduce cybervolunteering successfully into nonprofit organizations. ... link to pdf
Key Words: cybervolunteering, public relations, strategic planning, technology
Strategic Professional Development Ahead for Volunteer Resource Managers:
Improving Quality of Life Through Contributions to Sustained Organizational Excellence
Tracy D. Connors
Since publication of the first handbook for nonprofit organization management in 1980 to the present, the number of nonprofit organizations in the United States has doubled, while the importance of volunteers to the nation's quality of life has exponentially increased and is still growing. Professionalism in volunteer resource management has made significant progress in the 30 years since publication of the initial NPO handbook. Much remains to be done however, to realize the potential of volunteer resource management as a contributor to organizational excellence, and to meet society's needs for volunteer services, including broadening higher education offerings in volunteer resource management, and expanding training opportunities for volunteer resource managers in grassroots organizations. Even as volunteer resource management professionalism advances, the growing demands for services provided by volunteers seem to negate the perception of gaining ground relative to society's needs, much like Tantalus' fruit, "catching up" seems to remain out of reach. Meeting society's needs will not only depend on expanded education and training, but might well include establishing a new role for volunteer managers who aspire to the stratosphere of professional development in this field: strategic volunteer resource management. ... link to pdf
Key Words: human resource development, nonprofit organizations, volunteer management education, volunteer management professionalism, volunteer resource administrator, volunteers
The Importance of Being Pracademic
Nancy L. Macduff, & F. Ellen Netting, Ph.D.
The authors (an academic and a practitioner, both who define themselves as “pracademics”) comment on their experiences over many years of conducting workshops and doing presentations at national and international volunteerism conferences in which they have repeatedly posed the question, “What is a ‘pracademic’ and how is it related to professionalism?”. A typical response is, “that’s what I am, but I’ve never quite known what to call myself” since such an individual identifies with the concept of having one foot in the academy and one foot in the practice environment. This commentary defines the essential nature of being a “pracademic” and its implications for volunteer resource managers. ... link to pdf
Key Words: academic, collaboration, practice, practitioner, professional
FROM THE JOVA ANNALS
Volunteer Services Coordinators in the Seventies
The author describes the status of the emerging “Coordinator of Volunteers” (volunteer resource management) vocation (profession) in the United States in the decade of the 1970’s as related to five job skills areas she perceives as critical to the profession: 1. human relations skills, 2. management skills, 3. professional development skills, 4. volunteer training skills, and 5. consultant skills. ... link to pdf
Key Words: profession, volunteer resource management, volunteer manager
Higher Education Programs For Administrators Of Volunteers
J. Malcolm Walker, & David Horton Smith
The authors report the results of a very modest unfunded pilot research project designed to assess recent experiences with programs (not single courses) in volunteer administration in American institutions of higher education. Study findings suggest that the field is obviously quite new in higher education; most programs had been implemented or initiated (and sometimes rejected) in the past three years. Such programs tend to be concentrated in higher education institutions in or near major population centers (metropolitan areas), where concentrations of volunteer programs and volunteer administrators can likewise be found. The most significant factor in program success seems to be the active, persistent, and continuing committed involvement of one individual or a small group of individuals, involved themselves in or deeply concerned with the practice of volunteer administration. ... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteer administrators, higher education, academic course, certificate
Continuing Professional Education for Volunteer Administrators
The author proposes that alternatives for the preparation and education of volunteer administrators is critically important to meet the demands for competent volunteer administrators. He identifies three reasons why the demand for trained volunteer administrators outpaces the supply of such individuals: 1) preservice programs that are either decreasing, not readily accessible, or non-existent; 2) the lack of educational resources within volunteer-based programs; and 3) the complex and broad-reaching nature of the work itself. He discusses six attributes of any profession, argues that volunteer administration has evolved into a “professionalizing vocation”, and as such, discusses the need for consistent continuing professional education for volunteer administrators. ... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteer administration, volunteer administrators, professional development, professionalism, profession
Practical Volunteer Administrator Professional Development Strategies
Robert F. Long, Ph.D.
The author argues that the world in which volunteer administrators operate is demanding more and more sophisticated leadership and management to keep volunteer based organizations healthy. He suggests that by improving individual understanding of personal professional development as volunteer administrators, a foundation can be laid for leading others in their professional development planning. The process he suggests is designed to help volunteer administrators: 1) identify and define the components of professional development relevant to them; 2) communicate the role of each component to others; and 3) design and lead the design of professional development for themselves and others. ... link to pdf
Key Words: professional development, personal development, leadership, management, issues, trends
Moving Beyond the Volunteer Management System
Mary V. Merrill
Researchers and practitioners have long recognized that volunteer managers deal with diverse managerial responsibilities, and for many years they have tried to make a simple itemization of the functions that are required to manage volunteer programs. This systems approach has led to a reliance on skills-based, effective, universal volunteer managers by means of a professional credential that commands solid value and respect from employers, staff, volunteers, clients/consumers, and peers. ... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteer management, systems, skills-based models, core concepts, profession