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Looking Beyond Traditional Volunteer Management: A Case Study of an Alternative Approach to Volunteer Engagement in Parks and Recreation

  • Martha L. Barnes
  • Erin K. Sharpe
Original Paper

Abstract

In an era of declining volunteerism it is critical to examine alternative approaches to volunteer management that may better promote engagement and address common barriers to volunteering. Using a “best practices” Canadian case study approach, this research describes an alternative approach to volunteer engagement that emphasizes lifestyle integration, organizational informality and flexibility, and volunteer–agency collaboration. We suggest that traditional volunteer management structures may actually be hindering engagement and call instead for a more vocation-based, networked, and collaborative approach which affords greater autonomy to the volunteer and sees power being shared between agencies and volunteers.

Keywords

Volunteer management Collaboration Networking Engagement Volunteering Parks and recreation Canada 

Résumé

Dans une ère de déclin du bénévolat, il est impératif d’examiner des approches alternatives propres à mieux promouvoir sa gestion et résoudre ce qui fait lui fait obstacle. En ce référent aux «meilleures pratiques» d’une étude de cas canadienne, cette recherche décrit une alternative de façon à ce que l’engagement bénévole mette l’accent sur l’intégration du style de vie, l’absence de formalité organisationnelle garante de souplesse, et en collaboration avec des agences se consacrant au bénévolat. Nous suggérons que les structures de gestion du bénévolat traditionnelles peuvent en fait entraver leur engagement mais emmener dans son sillage un élément permettant une plus grande autonomie et partager équitablement l’action conjointe des agences et des bénévoles.

Zusammenfassung

In einer Ära von rückläufiger ehrenamtlicher Tätigkeit ist es entscheidend, alternative Ansätze zum Management von ehrenamtlichen Helfern zu prüfen, die möglicherweise besser das Engagement fördern und auf verbreitete Barrieren zum Volontieren eingehen. Die “best practices” einer kanadischen Fallstudienmethode nutzend beschreibt diese Untersuchung einen alternativen Ansatz zum Management von Ehrenamtlichen, der Integration des Lebensstils, organisatorische Zwanglosigkeit und Flexibilität und Zusammenarbeit von Ehrenamtlichen und Agentur betont. Wir behaupten, dass traditionelle Strukturen des Managements von Ehrenamtlichen sogar Engagement behindern kann und fordern stattdessen eine mehr berufsbasierte, vernetzte und gemeinschaftliche Herangehensweise, die dem ehrenamtlichen Helfer größere Autonomie bietet und die Macht zwischen Agenturen und Ehrenamtlichen teilt.

Resumen

En una época de declive del voluntariado, es esencial examinar los enfoques alternativos a la gestión de los voluntarios que mejor fomentarían el compromiso y derribarían las barreras comunes al voluntariado. Enfocándonos en un estudio de caso canadiense para las mejores prácticas, este estudio describe un método alternativo al compromiso de los voluntarios que hace hincapié en la integración en el estilo de vida, la informalidad y la flexibilidad organizativa y la colaboración en organismos de voluntarios. Sugerimos que las estructuras tradicionales de gestión voluntaria pueden ser un obstáculo al compromiso y exigimos un enfoque más colaborador, organizado en red y basado en la vocación que permita una mayor autonomía a los voluntarios y busque un reparto de poder entre los organismos y los voluntarios.

摘要

如今,志愿行为日显势微,所以我们必须检视志愿者管理的另类途径,以更好地推动参与程度,并消除影响人们参与志愿活动的一些常见障碍。通过使用了一种加拿大式的“最佳实践”型案例研究方法,本研究论文描述了一种独特的志愿者管理模式,该模式重视志愿行为与生活方式的整合,重视相关组织机构的非正式型和灵活性,以及志愿者与机构之间的合作。我们认为,传统的志愿者管理结构可能实际上对志愿者参与度造成了一定负面影响,所以我们需要一种基于职业的、网络化的合作型新模式,这种模式应为志愿者提供更大的自主权,并使志愿者与志愿机构之间实现一定的权力分享。

要約

ボランティア活動の減少時代には、ボランティアに対する取り組みをより促進し、ボランティアへの障壁を取り除くような運営ボランティアに対する別のアプローチが重要視されている。カナダの「成功事例」では、ライフスタイルとの調和、運営方法と柔軟性、ボランティア団体のコラボレーションに重きを置く代替ボランティアへの取り組みが提示されている。ボランティアの自立性を実現し、政府機関とボランティア間における共通能力を理解し、職業的かつネットワーク化された協調性を構築する取り組みや需要に対して、従来のボランティア運営組織においては妨げが存在することを明らかにする。

ملخص

إنه من الأهمية في عصر قلة المتقدمين للتطوع أن ننظر إلى سبل بديلة لإدارة المتطوعين التي قد تعزز المشاركة بطريقة أفضل و تعالج العوائق المشتركة التي تحول دون العمل التطوعي. بإستخدام “أفضل الممارسات” منهاج دراسة حالة كندية، هذا البحث يصف نهج بديل لمشاركة المتطوع الذي يؤكد على دمج أسلوب الحياة، تنظيمي غير رسمي و المرونة، والتعاون بين وكالات المتطوعين. نقترح أن هياكل إدارة المتطوعين التقليدية ممكن أن يعوق الإشتراك وندعو بدلاً من ذلك إلى أساس مهني، الشبكية، والنهج التعاوني الذي يتيح قدرًا أكبر من الحكم الذاتي للمتطوعين ، ونرى القوة تتقاسم بين الوكالات والمتطوعين.

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the work of our research assistant, Stephanie Schope, whose hard work and interest in this project were invaluable.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The John's Hopkins University 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Recreation and Leisure StudiesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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