Leadership development through mentoring: An exploratory investigation of adult volunteer perceptions about the value of mentoring

by Gunyon, John S., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2007, 186 pages; 3253621


There is an old saying among business leaders that suggests it is much easier to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new customer. A corollary of that theory would suggest it is also easier to keep an existing volunteer, than it is to find a new volunteer. In the current changing social environment of the early twenty-first century, the utilization of volunteers to support the programs of thousands of volunteer and non-profit organizations is increasingly critical. With proper leadership and mentoring, volunteers may be willing to offer long-term commitments to the organization they elect to support. If organizational leaders recognize volunteers as a critical supporting asset of the organization, by using the correct leadership style and nurturing techniques such as mentoring, the volunteer may be more inclined to continue their volunteer work. It appears that when many adult volunteers offer their services, the sponsoring organization offers minimal introductions and information, perhaps just enough to allow the volunteer to begin their voluntary commitment. Should volunteer organizations provide a more in-depth introduce to their program, and should they ensure that new volunteers are receiving the right type of leadership? Leadership styles may be drastically different when dealing with individuals who are freely offering their time and talents without an expectation of financial remuneration or individual recognition, than would be found in a traditional business setting. Organizational leaders cannot assume that volunteers will fall under a one-size-fits-all leadership style. They must pay close attention to the needs of the volunteer, and perhaps offer more one-on-one interaction. This type of interaction could improve volunteer retention, and therefore ultimately improve the organizational effectiveness of the sponsoring organization. This research paper will consider the potential effectiveness of implementing a mentor program under the best type of leadership, for adult volunteers in the volunteer setting of a youth program: specifically, the Boy Scouts of America.

AdviserSheila D. Fournier-Bonilla
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3253621

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