The extent and nature of informal volunteering in professional associations
Brudney, Jeffrey L; Gazley, Beth (2014)


Volunteers who perform intermittent, ad-hoc or autonomous activities have received much less scholarly attention when compared with those individuals whom organisations formally identify as their volunteer corps. Yet, they may possibly far outnumber formal volunteers and represent the
‘glue’ holding together many elements of civic life. The study on which this article is based examined informal volunteering in professional and occupational societies to understand the consequences for volunteer retention. Using volunteering data from 7,408 members of international associations
based in the United States, we found the following: associations failed to identify as ‘volunteers’ most of the members who reported that they performed labour for their professional society, and these volunteers were less engaged and less satisfied than those formally recognised for their
volunteer labour. In addition to suggestions for improving measurement instruments, we conclude that accurate record-keeping and volunteer management systems might reap tremendous benefits for many organisations with respect to recruitment, involvement, satisfaction and retention of their
volunteers.


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