Title

The impact of online volunteer referral services on volunteer recruiting for nonprofit organizations

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Degree Name

MS in Management

First Advisor

Ralph Meima

Abstract

Volunteering has long been an important part of US citizens' lives, reflected in the fact that more than $200 billion dollars worth of human resources were used in 2004 for volunteers. (United States Department of Labor: 1, 3 Volunteering in the United States, 2004) Volunteering means not only helping society through volunteer hosted organizations, but also the process by which volunteers increase their understanding and acceptance of different opinions regarding various issues in society. The existence of multiple perspectives can accelerate the process of social change on many levels. From my personal practicum experience with VolunteerMatch, I selected online volunteer referral services as my capstone topic, whether those services benefit NPOs or not. To learn the impact of online services on NPOs' volunteer recruitment, I interviewed 11 staff members individually who were in charge of recruiting volunteers. These individuals were from 11 different NPOs in Vermont, and they had used VolunteerMatch and/or Idealist to recruit volunteers. Through the employment of grounded theory, 18 categories were created for analysis. Through this study, there is little benefit for NPOs to use online services to recruit volunteers. The main benefit for NPOs is having another outlet to recruit volunteers, and it is essential for NPO staff to understand the characteristic of the Internet and e-mail as media. In general, NPO staff considered online volunteer referral services as a good option for volunteer recruitment, even if they are not always dependable sources of volunteers.

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