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Victoria University of Wellington,
A nationwide survey of more than 800 volunteer managers has found that the greatest challenge they face is the recruitment of volunteers.
This is followed by not having enough time or money to achieve goals, and matching and retaining volunteers.
“Despite these challenges, which are by no means minor, 90 percent of respondents reported satisfaction with their volunteer management role, whether paid or unpaid,” says one of the researchers Dr Carolyn Cordery, Senior Lecturer in Accounting at Victoria University.
“However, the time commitment is huge—although most managers stated that they were supported by their organisations, a majority also stated that they squeezed their volunteer management role in around all their other responsibilities.
“Three quarters of respondents reported there are aspects of their jobs where they would find extra training useful, in particular to learn more about management skills, volunteer recruitment and communications.”
The online survey, open to anyone involved in the management of volunteers, was conducted by Victoria University, in partnership with Volunteering New Zealand and funded by a Tindall Foundation grant. The research was undertaken across two schools in Victoria University’s Faculty of Commerce and Administration, by Dr Cordery from the School of Accounting and Commercial Law and Dr Karen Smith from Victoria Management School.
The survey results provide a snapshot of the volunteer sector, including who are managing volunteers, what their role involves, how they feel about their role overall, their broad training needs, and where they see themselves in the future.
Dr Cordery says it was interesting to note the huge variety of job titles that those managing volunteers have.
“Organisations would do well to define carefully the jobs and titles of their managers of volunteers, to ensure the time this important job requires is acknowledged and allocated.”
Chair of Volunteering New Zealand Gillian Peacock welcomed the report. “At a time when there is a ground swell targeting increased capacity and capability in our sector this research will be invaluable in informing and directing our sector’s growth and development.
“This research confirms the critical role the manager of volunteers plays in the successful functioning of volunteer programmes and organisations in New Zealand.”
A full report of the survey findings Managers Matter: Who Manages New Zealand’s Volunteers? was launched during Volunteer Awareness Week 2010.
To read a summary of the report or to download the full report, visit: www.volunteeringnz.org.nz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=147:research&catid=64&Itemid=109 .
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