Culture is important to future volunteers

Research released today by Volunteering Queensland illustrates the emerging environment for future volunteerism as generational change takes place.

A summary of the research findings show that culture, alignment, engagement, belonging and leadership are all crucial to creating a satisfying volunteer experience.

Young volunteers have a variety of commitments, they are highly mobile and project driven. They seek to see visible outcomes from their input and efforts.

Many young volunteers are university educated. They have a variety of interests and they align their volunterism with their interests. Volunteer managers cannot just plonk them onto a rag cutting machine and forget they are there. It is important to show interest in what it is that interests younger volunteers.

Younger volunteers are seeking engagement that carries with it some degree of responsibility, where they can make a positive and visible difference and which contributes to their knowledge base and skill development.

The next generation of volunteers want to belong. They don’t necessarily respond to the title ‘volunteer’. They want to feel that they are a part of your organisation.

Placing volunteers into leadership roles where appropriate, with responsibility for outcomes provides them with a sense of purpose and value.

What are some of the implications for our nonprofit organisations? Firstly the concept of volunteerism amongst younger people may challenge some of the traditional concepts held by Baby Boomer management and even some older volunteers. Existing volunteer managers may need to revisit their perspectives and ask what they need to be doing differently to attract younger volunteers.

Inclusion is becoming increasingly important. Volunteers want to be a part of your organisation. They want to be viewed in the same way as paid staff. In return they offer a high level of education and high levels of professionalism. Volunteer managers may need to review volunteer processes, in consultation with younger volunteers to help create a winning culture.

The report serves to remind us that nothing stays the same. Generational change is set to have the greatest impact upon our nonprofit organisations in arguably the past 30 years. The consequences of our actions in regards to volunteers will impact upon our organisations for the next 30-50 years. Now is not the time to get it wrong.

By the way, if you require some help developing appropriate volunteer processes for the future call John on +61 427 390 376, we have an experienced volunteer manager on tap to help and a further ten associates with lots of experience in volunteer management. Between your people and our people you will get what you need.

Those are my thoughts for the day

Let The Journey Continue

John Coxon


About John Coxon

Principal consultant for John Coxon & Associates, a management consultancy working with boards and management teams in healthcare, aged care and not for profit organisations to develop effective strategic planning processes and social enterprise business plans
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