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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.

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
Volunteer stress is an important topic. While there are a good number of studies looking at this in terms of implications for the volunteer’s health and well-being, this quarter’s Research to Practice reviews exploratory research that analyzes the issue from an organizational…
October 2015
In this Research to Practice, Laurie Mook reviews a study examining factors that influence volunteer satisfaction and volunteer contributions, defined as a combination of the number of programs involved in and the number of hours served. Specifically, the study looked at…
July 2015
In this quarter’s Research to Practice, Laurie Mook reviews a study by Mark A. Hager and Jeffrey L. Brudney testing whether or not the “adoption of ‘best practices’ (such as interviewing volunteers, matching them to assignments, supervising volunteer activities, and recognizing…
April 2015
This quarter’s Research to Practice reviews an article that presents a way to measure the social returns on investment in volunteer recruiting, training, and management. Called Social Return on Investment, or SROI, it is a type of cost-benefit analysis that compares the present…
January 2015
Understanding the health benefits of volunteering for older adults can provide multiple opportunities for increasing the impact of nonprofit organizations, and the quality of life generally in our communities. From a volunteer management perspective, this has implications for…
October 2014
Organizations use many different approaches to attract and retain volunteers. For instance, one attempt at a macro level is required high school service, which aims in part to inspire large numbers of students to continue with volunteering into their adult lives by having them…
July 2014
This quarter’s Research to Practice contributes to the theme of Volunteer Centers. Reviewer Laurie Mook looks at a study of the direct and secondary impacts of the HandsOn Network and its affiliated member organizations: Measuring the Impact of HandsOn Network: An Evaluation of…
April 2014