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

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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.