The Decision to Volunteer: Why People Give Their Time and How You Can Engage Them

The Decision to Volunteer: Why People Give Their Time and How You Can Engage Them

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and Monica Dignam, Beth Gazley


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  • Volunteer Management
  • Foundational
  • Applied
  • Strategic
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Want to attract, engage, retain, and work more effectively with people who give-or could give-time to your organization? Learn what motivates them with ASAE & The Center's latest "Decision to" research publication, The Decision to Volunteer: Why People Give Their Time and How You Can Engage Them.

The Decision to Volunteer is your ticket to an in-depth exploration of why and in what circumstances people are willing to give their time to voluntary activities.

Based on analysis of research survey responses from 26,305 people affiliated with 23 co-sponsoring organizations-making the study the largest to date of member-benefit associations, The Decision to Volunteer divulges the realities of why people give their time. Here is a sampling of what you'll learn:

  • " Understanding the demographics of your volunteer base is key to engaging them successfully.
  • "Not all volunteers are alike: They bring different preferences and expectations regarding the work they will do and how they will be recognized for it.
  • "Individuals volunteer for a variety of reasons, and for a combination of self-serving ("learning new skills") and serving-others ("helping a cause") purposes.
  • "The number one reason that association members volunteer is to do something for a cause that is important to them.
  • "The direct ask may be one of the most widely overlooked ways to engage new volunteers.

  • The Decision to Volunteer is chock full of insightful analysis and practical ideas that you can apply to your own volunteer recruiting activities. You'll gain a better understanding, through the eyes of volunteers, of what is different about volunteering in a member-benefit organization and what motivates people to give their time. And with that knowledge, you'll be better able to recruit, engage, and retain the lifeblood of your organization: volunteers.

    The Decision to Volunteer is a one-of-a-kind resource for association professionals bent on engaging volunteers in meaningful work. Use the results to review your current volunteer plans and discover new ways to attract and keep your core group of highly engaged people. (August 2008, ISBN 978-0-88034-299-5, 144 pages)