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Engage Library

Research to Practice

Research to Practice seeks to identify, review and interpret academic and other research important to the volunteer engagement field. Because the various reports and studies are discussed in terms of their major relevance to practitioners, each of the articles is also listed in the Engage Library by subject covered.

In this issue of Research to Practice, Laurie Mook reviews a study that explores the question, ‘Why do volunteers choose the particular organization they do to volunteer for?’ The researchers in the study use a marketing perspective, where the volunteer’s choice of organization…
October 2020
Thirty-five years ago, Susan J. Ellis published an article in the Journal of Voluntary Action (now Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly) entitled “Research on volunteerism: What needs to be done.” Ellis mused – in 1985 – that the only subject at that time that seemed to…
July 2020
Now more than ever, technology is playing an all-encompassing role in keeping nonprofits and volunteer programs going. While volunteer-matching apps and social media platforms have been around for a while, social distancing takes us to a whole other level in terms of technology…
April 2020
In this Research to Practice, Laurie Mook reviews two articles that bring together issues related to measuring the impact of volunteering, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 goals that address social, economic, and…
January 2020
Adults 65 and older are an increasing demographic, with many retired from work and reinvesting some of their time into volunteering. A new challenge for volunteer administrators is managing these older adults and, eventually, managing their decisions to withdraw or retire…
October 2019
High school students do not often think of nonprofits as an option for career-building. Although they may have been exposed to nonprofits through volunteering or community service requirements, they are generally guided by career counselors and their parents to have career…
July 2019
With more and more volunteer recruitment done online, it is important to take a step back and look at who has or doesn’t have the opportunity to volunteer as a result of not having household Internet access. Has digital access changed the demographics of who is being asked to…
April 2019
Volunteer resource managers leave their jobs at a rate of almost double that of the nonprofit sector in general (Ertas, 2018). Turnover of volunteer resource managers is a significant issue due to the wide-reaching direct and indirect economic and social consequences for…
January 2019
In our last issue, Research to Practice focused on episodic volunteers, as one-time or short-term volunteering is often called. This time, e-Volunteerism looks at a study of super-volunteers, defined as “individuals who volunteer 10 or more hours per week with a single…
October 2018
Episodic volunteering – as one-time or short-term volunteering is often called – is becoming the norm as times change and individuals move away from traditional volunteer roles that require consistent, long-term commitments. Technology has made it easy to find and sign up for…
July 2018
What can an organization learn by examining why some people choose not to volunteer? In this issue’s Research to Practice, Laurie Mook reviews an article by researchers from Australia and the Netherlands that focuses our attention on these non-volunteers. While we know a lot…
April 2018
Why do volunteers break the rules? This Research to Practice reviews an ethnographic study of an animal shelter where disruptive behavior by volunteers was a regular occurrence. This disruptive behavior was defined as “any behavior that either explicitly violated a rule or…
January 2018
What role can volunteering and leaders of volunteer engagement play in developing future leaders? This Research to Practice reviews a new instrument developed specifically to help volunteer resource managers identify future leaders in their volunteer base. Recognizing that…
October 2017
If you Google it, there are 10 times the number of articles on “volunteer recruitment” than “volunteer retention.” With the number of volunteers declining nationally, understanding the dynamics and rates of volunteer retention for different groups of volunteers is crucial. In…
July 2017
Surveys have long raised questions about volunteer management practices. The problem with surveys, argues nonprofit management and leadership professor Mark A. Hager, is that “we can’t reliably know what’s really responsible for some trend or relationships we see in pairs of…
April 2017
Volunteerism research has produced a wide range of palpable evidence supporting various motivations for volunteer involvement, including but not limited to humanitarian and altruistic concern for others; an unassuming yearning to help; a desire for satisfying self); an…
January 2017
Much has been written about the differences between paid staff and volunteers and the need to develop a management style for volunteers that takes into account their unique characteristics. But to date much volunteer practice has lagged behind the research, with many…
October 2016
Volunteer recognition is one of the few aspects of volunteer involvement about which we actually have quite a bit of reliable information. Mostly this is because volunteer recognition is simple to evaluate since recognition is, after all, in the eye of the receiver: “Does the…
July 2016
Today’s workplaces may have as many as five generations of workers, each raised in different times with different influences affecting their work styles. The same is true of volunteer programs. Organizations are now experiencing many different generations of volunteers…
April 2016
  /*-->*/ There are many research studies on volunteerism from the perspective of volunteers. Among other things, researchers have asked volunteers why they do or do not volunteer, and why they remain in their roles or leave. However, research from the perspective of paid…
January 2016