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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.

The debate continues over whether or not students in service-learning placements should be considered volunteers, and this type of unpaid labor often falls under the purview of a volunteer resource manager. Indeed, engaging service-learners is one strategy that can be used to…
January 2014
In the last quarter century, nonprofits have increasingly been held accountable for the resources that have been entrusted to them. For some organizations, accountability mechanisms have been imposed left, right, and center, as funders and donors seek to monitor the use of the…
October 2013
In 2009, Jeffrey L. Brudney and Lucas C.P.M. Meijs proposed a new way of thinking about volunteer resources: as a natural resource which must be managed sustainably or it will be exhausted. In their article, "It Ain’t Natural: Toward a New (Natural) Resource Conceptualization…
July 2013
There has been quite a bit of research on volunteer satisfaction, but not so much on volunteer manager satisfaction. How satisfied are volunteer managers with their jobs?  Do their working conditions differ from those of managers of paid staff? What are the implications for…
April 2013
We hear over and over again how volunteers are indispensable to many organizations. While we have previously covered articles on different methods used to estimate a value for volunteer contributions, a new study out of New Zealand looks at how volunteer value is communicated,…
January 2013
This issue’s Research to Practice provides great food for thought on organizational factors affecting volunteer management. For example, how do the goals of the organization, area of activity, or degree of bureaucracy impact the role that a volunteer management program can take…
October 2012
In this issue, author Laurie Mook looks at an interesting case study of the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House as an example of how to measure the direct impact of volunteer service on the organization, clients and volunteers themselves. The research – conducted by Debbie Haski-…
July 2012
In this Research to Practice, author Laurie Mook reviews the use of social computing technologies by volunteer coordinators at nonprofit organizations. Mook looks at research on use and non-use of technology, based on interviews with 23 volunteer coordinators from three…
April 2012
Volunteer “voice” in nonprofit organizations has not been the topic of a lot of study. What happens, for instance, when volunteers encounter situations they find dissatisfying? This issue’s Research to Practice looks at this subject through “Volunteering an Opinion:…
January 2012
This quarter’s Research to Practice approaches the issue of credentialing in volunteer management by looking at one possible framework for evaluating the effects of credentialing or not credentialing. For this review, writer Laurie Mook turns to David Suárez, Ph.D., a well-known…
October 2011
For nearly two decades,the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies research group has conducted comparative research on volunteer work and the nonprofit sector. This year, in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and in collaboration with…
July 2011
The volunteer base has changed over time. It has moved from volunteers with long-term commitments to welcoming the diversity of youth, families, baby boomers and employer-supported volunteers – and required us all to adapt our volunteer management practices.  In this Research to…
April 2011
The Reimagining Service campaign in the United States is an effort to change the way organizations and funders think about and support volunteer management. In addition to the usual advocacy efforts, the campaign has conducted some interesting research projects. One such project…
January 2011
This report examines the civic and volunteering behavior of young adults age 15-25 following September 11th. There are surprising findings, some of which we don't quite understand, so you'll have a chance to join in the analysis as we're trying to figure out what's going on.
October 2002
Can you put a monetary value on volunteering? What is a volunteer’s time and effort worth? This Research to Practice re-visits theses questions by studying a paper called “The Economic Value of Volunteering in Queensland,” by Dr. Duncan Ironmonger, Department of Economics, The…
October 2010
A chapter in Hybrid Organisations and the Third Sector. Challenges for Practice, Theory and Policy, edited by David Billis (Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
July 2010
This month’s Research to Practice takes a slight detour from reviewing research to report on an article that tries to take a completely new view on some well-known volunteer issues.  The article, called “It Ain’t Natural: Toward a New (Natural) Resource Conceptualization for…
October 2009
In this Research to Practice, Steven Howlett reviews a recent research report that delves into how middle-aged and older Americans spend their time when they’re not at work. Published in January 2010 by AARP in Washington, D.C., this report collects information from a…
April 2010
Is the worst of the recession over? Many nonprofits are still feeling a dual pinch - more clients to serve and less money to do it with. But despite the downturn, many organisations seem to report steady volunteer numbers. Anecdotal evidence from the UK even suggests that…
January 2010
Readers of e-Volunteerism and users of the Web site often want to find evidence to support the impact of volunteering. In short, does volunteering work? Finding evidence to support volunteering can be tricky, for all sorts of reasons. This edition of Research to Practice looks…
July 2009