Successful youth organizations have developed specific forms of volunteer management that are not in line with many management concepts currently found in literature and consultant practice. One problem with these concepts seems to be the transfer of for-profit management rationality to non-profit organizations without adapting or even discussing the underlying assumptions. This chapter shows some results of a 2-year study that the IZGS jointly carried out with Bertelsmann Foundation thereby discovering different logics of management different to that of a corporation. Next to other factors of influence these on the one hand result from the characteristics of an organization’s goals (goal logic), on the other hand, there is considerable influence on management resulting from decision-making, namely from the question of who is exercising power in which way and how decisions are taken (steering logic). As a result volunteer management might be seen from a new angle allowing predictions as to which management concepts, tools or instrument might match a youth organizations needs and which might not.
- Non-profit management
- Youth organizations
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The critique of the normative direction of large components of management instruction is of course not new and not limited to non-profit management. Cf., for example, Mintzberg (2005).
Cf. The demand for more extensive research Zimmer and Vilain (2005, p. 130).
Most recently in the Ministry for Family Affairs’ report on social work. Cf. Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (2013, p. 36).
Youth organisations are thus modelled after the criteria from the Johns Hopkins Comparative Nonprofit Sector Project. Organisations with a minimum of formal organisation which are private, that is, non-government organisations which prohibit the distribution of any surplus to members or owners, which have a minimum of self-administration and decision-making autonomy, and which have a high volunteer component. Furthermore, they are identified by the following criteria specific to the study: the activities of a youth organisation take place on the basis of the German constitution and children and young people (5–27) are the target group of the organisation. Cf. (Vilain and Meyer 2014).
The focus on formally organised structures is justified with reference to the findings of the last volunteer survey which continued to award an outstanding role to organisationally arranged youth work, in contrast to projects and initiatives and thus made the 1980s and 1990s suspected shift from these traditional structures to informalising volunteer work appear questionable. Cf. Picot (2012, p. 132 ff.).
According to this, volunteer management was present if target-oriented organisation and management in the practices of the organisations studied was detected with respect to volunteer work. This means: it can also be defined as volunteer management if no theoretical, established, formalised management concept is available. In this way, the perspective of youth organisations is opened up to a rich diversity of types of management, operational methods, and types and cultures of volunteer management.
The study began with a comprehensive survey of experts which served the development of the design of the study as well as gaining possible suggestions for good practices in youth organisations. Following this a criteria-led selection of the suggested organizations was undertaken step by step building intensive Internet research and evaluating freely available materials as well as external support. The remaining youth organizations underwent intensive screening, including an analysis of their environment, media research, and an on-site visit before they were then profiled.
The comparative low response can particularly be traced back to the low answer rate of volunteer agencies that have almost completely received the survey. It emerged from individual responses that they did not see themselves in the position to name good, local youth organisations, nor provide information on questions of volunteer management.
We used the term “adult organization” to indicate the relationship between an organization predominantly run by adults and a dependent part of such an organization run by young people (“youth organization”). For example the Red Cross Youth is legally dependent but organizationally predominantly independent of the Red Cross.
Cf. the relationships between mission, target reference, strategy and management (Vilain 2001).
The goal dimensions found show similarities to a classification suggested by Düx. She distinguishes between subject-or task-related associations and ideological oriented associations, as well as associations with a “specific core activity (primarily related to a special purpose or thing)”, and associations with multiple changing activities (referring to the whole of man). Cf. Düx (2000, p. 102 f.).
The goal dimensions occur rarely in pure form in the organisations studied. Duplicate results are therefore characteristic for the proposed model of the target method given the flowing transitions between the three dimensions.
This at least is true for the youth organizations, whereas the related adult organizations sometimes do have clear hierarchies.
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Vilain, M. (2014). Patterns in Volunteer Management of German Youth Organizations. In: Freise, M., Hallmann, T. (eds) Modernizing Democracy. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-0485-3_18
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