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Getting to Know Your Non-Volunteers: Insights from a Mixed-Methods Survey

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 about volunteers, their motivations, and issues related to volunteer management, we know far less about non-volunteers. Using the concept of ‘volunteerability’ – defined as an "individual’s ability to overcome related obstacles and volunteer, based on their willingness, capability, and availability" (Haski-Leventhal et al., 2017, 2) – the authors in this study reviewed literature, held focus groups, and conducted a survey to understand the barriers that non-volunteers face in their willingness, capability, and availability to volunteer.

Although the article is positioned in terms of informing social policy, the findings are also useful at the organization level. Understanding the non-volunteer perspective can be helpful in attracting and retaining new volunteers to your organization. 

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Interviewing for Success: How to Conduct Effective Volunteer Interviews

Of the many challenges volunteer administrators face, the volunteer interview may seem to be the least worrisome. But the volunteer interview is arguable the most important step in an extensive process that matches a potential volunteer with appropriate tasks and duties. In this Along the Web, author Erick Lear presents a list of resources developed to aid volunteer managers and help them conduct effective interviews with prospective volunteers. In addition to helping managers interview for success, this information can help managers improve time management as well as cost effectiveness when they perform recruitment activities.

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Using Personality Profiles: A Game Changer for Volunteer-Involving Organizations

Volunteer-involving organizations – whether nonprofits, government agencies or all-volunteer associations – regularly search for new philosophies and technologies to maximize volunteerism and advance the organization’s purpose. However, implementing the use of personality profiles rarely makes the list of strategic initiatives. But in today’s social world, understanding an individual’s personality is critical to serving up relevant communications and interacting in meaningful ways. In order to succeed, organizations must emotionally engage their volunteers.

In this feature article, authors John Marshall and Hugh Massie take readers step by step to illustrate and explain how to use personality profiles in volunteer-involving organizations. And, the authors argue, "the investment of time and resources to incorporate personality profiles into the process of recruiting, organizing and engaging volunteers is one that pays off tenfold."

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The Contradictions of Imposing 'Checks' on Volunteers: Questions We Need to Answer

Debbie Usiskin, an experienced volunteer programme manager in London, shares her personal exploration of how government requirements to ‘check’ (screen) volunteers provide contradictory and conflicting responsibilities and messages.  She raises important questions about finding the right balance between protecting those who are served while supporting the widest range of volunteers.

Usiskin also introduces a provocative analysis of volunteer-involving organisations by influential business guru Charles Handy and applies his thinking to volunteer management.  

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Group Interviewing Techniques: Hitting the Bull's-Eye Every Time

Interviewing is a lot like archery. The athletes who participate in that sport have their mind on one thing: hitting the bull’s-eye. Their strategy is to develop the skills to hit the bull’s-eye portion of the target every time. Your target when you interview is the kind of volunteer you want to place. And you need to develop the skills to hit that target as often as possible. Group interviewing, which is showcased in this article, will enable you to hit the bull’s-eye every time.

Traditionally, most volunteer interviews take place in a one-on-one situation between the candidate and a member of the volunteer program staff...The group interviewing process recommended here involves interviewing five volunteers simultaneously with two trained volunteer placement counselors conducting the interview. The philosophy of group interviewing, designing the group interview process, selecting and training volunteer placement counselors, the logistics of this system, and evaluation of interview efficacy are each be explored in this article.

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