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Organizational Factors Affecting Strategic Volunteer Management

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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 in the strategic achievement of an organization’s mission? How can organizational settings be “assessed and aligned to the needs of volunteers, but also to those of the organization and society at large?”

In this article, reviewer Laurie Mook shares insights from Sibylle Studer and Georg von Schnurbein, two researchers from the Centre for Philanthropy Studies at the University of Basel in Switzerland. They reviewed and synthesized academic literature relevant to volunteer management from 1967 to 2011, looking for evidence to help explain how nonprofit organizational factors supported or restricted volunteer management. As the researchers found, there are many studies looking at ‘who volunteers’ and ‘why people volunteer,’ but studies from the organizational perspective are not as prevalent. Mook presents their findings and other conclusions about organizational factors and how they impact strategic volunteer management.