The IJOVA Volume XXIX, Number 1


In This Issue: Addressing key aspects of volunteer engagement and resource management
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A Field Study Extending the Hobson-Heler Model to Assess Website "Volunteer- Friendliness" of the Top 200 Charities in the United States
Charles J. Hobson, Ph.D., Joshua J. Hobson, Shelli Henry, Susan M. Rouse, Ph.D., Andrea E. C. Griffin, Ph.D., Jana Szostek, J.D., & Natalie Murillo
Nonprofit organizations have been facing enormous pressure due to our current economic woes, resulting in a nationwide rise in agency closings and mergers and further exacerbating the shortage of needed health, human, and social services. One way to minimize the impact of this financial crisis and the increased demand for social services that has come with it is to effectively recruit and utilize volunteers. Recruitment procedures using the internet are a promising approach. This paper evaluates how effectively the 200 largest charities in the United States use their website for volunteer recruitment. Utilizing the Hobson and Hobson 24-item "volunteer-friendliness" assessment tool, the websites of the 200 largest U.S. charities, in terms of total revenue, were evaluated. The reliability of the assessment tool was assessed, and norms were formulated for the 200 charities in terms of overall scale scores. Results indicated that: (1) the 24-item checklist can be successfully used as an objective, reliable measuring tool, (2) overall scores for the 200 organizations were consistently quite low, and (3) only a small percentage of the charities put forth any effort on their websites to offer volunteer opportunities to those with disabilities. Several important recommendations for enhanced nonprofit administration are discussed, along with directions for future research..... link to pdf
Key Words: volunteering, volunteer-friendly, websites, charities

Volunteer Entry into Hospital Culture: Organization socialization, P-O Fit, commitment, and job satisfaction
Tricia Ann Jordan, Ph.D., & Jay Fiene, Ph.D.
Volunteers fulfill vital roles within organizations helping volunteer program administrators stretch resources and extend services. The study presented explored the relationships among the organization socialization tactics used by hospitals and volunteer perceptions of value congruence or person-organization fit (P-O fit), commitment, and job satisfaction. Research findings reveal organization socialization tactics that provided common learning experiences separated from the seasoned organization members positively related to volunteer perceptions of organization commitment, P-O fit, satisfaction with empowerment and satisfaction with organization support. Socialization tactics that provided new volunteers identifiable stages of learning also positively related to perceptions of volunteer commitment, satisfaction with empowerment and satisfaction with organization support. Additionally, tactics that allowed new volunteers to work with seasoned volunteers who modeled the volunteer role also positively related to volunteer commitment, satisfaction with empowerment and organization support. Finally, socialization tactics utilized by hospitals in this investigation that validated new volunteer values and characteristics positively related to commitment, P-O fit, satisfaction with empowerment and satisfaction with organization support. Understanding the implications of the relationships that exist among these variables will assist volunteer program administrators in their volunteer recruitment, training, and retention efforts..... link to pdf
Key Words: Hospital volunteers, organization socialization, P-O fit, affective commitment, job satisfaction.


Helping Volunteers Navigate Difficult Issues: Applying Solution Based Techniques
Jason A. Hedrick
At some point or another, the business of working with people will lend itself to mediating difficult interpersonal situations. Finding the right tools to solve these problems is of critical importance to a volunteer organization's overall positive presence in communities. The Solution Focused approach to solving problems is strategic, exploratory, and solution-based rather than problem-oriented. As the name implies, this approach to problem solving is focused on solutions and not on factors that lead to a problem. The Solution Focused approach is a hereand- now type approach that places emphasis on the present and future. Rather than analyzing problems, volunteer resource managers (VRM) can engage volunteers in conversations about potential solutions. It is a distinctly positive approach to problem solving. ... link to pdf
Key Words: Volunteers, Management, Leadership, Mediation.

Strategies for Engaging Volunteers By Uncovering Individual Motivations
Eric Malm, Ph.D., & Stephen Eberle
A small group of motivated volunteers can accomplish incredible things. A constant challenge for any volunteer organizer is not just to find motivated workers, but to hone his or her skills at figuring out how to bring out the energy and passion of volunteers. In this paper we describe a model of volunteer resources management that places individuals within a complex network of individuals and organizations. Oftentimes volunteers come to a project through their membership of another group — be it a school, church, or community organization. Yet each volunteer is an individual, and has individual motivations that may or may not coincide with the motivations of the organizations to which s/he belong. We present two strategies which the authors (a college service learning coordinator and a college professor) have found helpful in uncovering latent motivation in groups of volunteers. When working with individuals, a structured form of 'one-on-one conversations' can help quickly drive conversations toward identifying underlying motivations. Working in classroom groups, the construction of a Community Contribution Statement provides a structure for identifying individual motivations and placing them within the context of a larger class project. Both approaches focus on the importance of acknowledging individual motivation. ... link to pdf
Key Words: Partnership Development, Volunteer Motivation, Volunteer Coordination.


Development of a User Friendly Social Capital Scale in Volunteering.
Michelle Foley, Marie Claire Van Hout, PhD, & Hilery Tarrant
All forms of social, human and cultural capital have positive associations with volunteering, in the form of social connectivity, trust and reciprocity between individuals, groups and wider social networks, community embeddedness and sense of belonging, well-being and mutual resource acquisition relating to friendships, knowledge, skills and education. This article outlines the process undertaken by the research team in the development, validation and testing of a user friendly questionnaire used to measure social capital in volunteering, as part of a large scale mixed method social capital and volunteering study. A 16 item questionnaire was developed and using a computer administered survey tested with a group of volunteers working in a single region in Ireland. Data was collected over a 6 week period in 2011 and the target population was 84 volunteers to validate the scale. A usable sample of 71 volunteers was obtained. These respondents were representative of the entire population of volunteers in the region when compared to regional organistation's Dashboard database figures. The final summated scale of the 16 indicators had a Cronbach's alpha of 0.86. Further research is required to validate the scale and to evaluate both the internal structure validity and dimensionality. This scale could be utilized in development planning, placement and administration of volunteering in communities and organisation. ... link to pdf
Key Words: Social Capital Theory, social connectivity, sense of belonging, trust, reciprocity

Assessing Volunteer Programs: Using the Net Benefits Index at Natural Resource Agencies
J. Stuart Carlton & Susan K. Jacobson, Ph. D.
Volunteer programs at natural resource agencies are expanding, creating a greater need for measurement and evaluation of program success. We surveyed 81 volunteer resource managers at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to assess the value of the Net Benefits Index as a measure of staff satisfaction with the volunteer program. The Net Benefits Index was positively correlated with two measures of staff satisfaction, indicating that the Index can serve as a useful proxy for satisfaction while also providing detailed information about the specific benefits and challenges faced by volunteer managers. The advantages of the Net Benefits Index are that it is easy to calculate and can be used to provide a snapshot of changes in staff satisfaction over time. One disadvantage of the Net Benefits Index is that it may have to be tailored to individual volunteer programs.... link to pdf
Key Words: natural resources; Net Benefits Index; program evaluation; volunteer management.

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