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Volunteer Management Capacity Study: An Update

Volunteer Management Capacity Study: An Update

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In 2003, while working at The Urban Institute, Mark A. Hager spearheaded a national study of volunteer administration called the Volunteer Management Capacity (VMC) study. In 2019, he returned to the field to collect new information and update the study. In this Research to Practice, Hager summarizes key themes from the updated “VMC2” report, including investments in volunteer management talent, challenges that volunteer managers face, and the prevailing practices they are adopting in their work.

To read the full article

Tue, 09/14/2021

Thank you Mark for this and your previous research to help advance the field. I think there are many important points for practitioners, and those of us who work to build the capacity of the field, to keep in mind. I hope you and others continue this research and identifying ways to implement these findings.

Your emphasis on finding "Ideas on how to best compete" gives me pause. My own experience has been that organizations who are open to "sharing" their volunteers- referring those who aren't a great fit to other organizations that would be, or (especially during the pandemic) sharing other similar-missioned nonprofits' volunteer opportunities with their volunteers, see better engagement of their volunteers. I recall seeing a time study that showed people who volunteer at multiple organizations decrease their TV viewing, not their volunteering at the original location. This all aligns with the Reimagining Service research, and subsequent research around Service Enterprise, about the importance of developing "Mutually Beneficial Partnerships" as a key characteristic of organizations with successful volunteer engagement strategies. I think there is a lot of risk to our organizations and our profession if we take the path of reinforcing what Vu Le calls the "Nonprofit Hunger Games". Would love to hear other thoughts and experiences on this.