Behaviors of nonprofit leaders who attract, motivate, and retain volunteers

by Umezurike, Jo Anne, Ed.D., UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE, 2011, 245 pages; 3536340


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to describe the experiences of volunteers who have had contact with nonprofit leaders who exhibit behaviors to attract, motivate, and retain volunteers. Behaviors exhibited by nonprofit leaders include vision, charisma, empathy, empowerment, positive reinforcement, volunteer development, training and support, interpersonal communication, and ethical behaviors.

Methodology: This was a descriptive study using the collective case study research approach. The systematic random sampling method was used to select 12 organizations for the study. Authorized personnel from each organization were asked to give their consent for the nonprofit organization to participate in the study. They were also asked to submit the names of 3 volunteers who had observed the behaviors of nonprofit leaders. A total of 36 volunteers participated in the research survey.

Findings: The nonprofit leader behaviors of "compelling vision" and "charisma" definitely attract volunteers but are even more important in motivating and retaining them. Motivational behaviors such as empathy, empowerment, and positive reinforcement also increase the retention of volunteers. Volunteer development was not a term that volunteers were comfortable with in regard to assessing the behavior of the nonprofit leader. Training and support, as well as ethical behaviors, are essential in the retention of volunteers but also affect the motivation volunteers need to perform their duties. Effective interpersonal communication behaviors affect the nonprofit leader's capacity to attract, motivate, and retain volunteers.

Conclusions: Nonprofit leaders can attract, motivate, and retain volunteers with the behaviors discussed in the study if the behaviors are based on the development of effective interpersonal communication. Each behavior discussed in the study is dependent upon the nonprofit leaders' ability to communicate and develop relationships needed to establish a supportive volunteer population.

Recommendations: It is recommended that nonprofit leaders take inventory of their communication skills and broaden areas that need improvement to develop the communication behaviors needed to attract, motivate, and retain volunteers. When relating to volunteer teams and groups, nonprofit leaders should implement communication behaviors to overtly establish the effects and rewards of volunteer development. It is also recommended that nonprofit leaders expand volunteer effectiveness by implementing an appropriate training and support plan.

AdviserPhil Pendley
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsEducational leadership; Management; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3536340

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