Understanding sense-making in volunteer units : a multiple case study of two environmental NGOs

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Urban and Rural Development

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to provide a deeper understanding of how volunteer units work, in order to find out ways of how to successfully recruit and retain volunteers for a longer period. Guided by practice theory, the study explains the sense-making of coordinators and volunteers. By answering the research question about how the members of volunteer units make sense of recruiting and retaining volunteers, the analysis has resulted in a comprehensive picture of the volunteer units within two environmental NGOs. The study shows that it is difficult for volunteer groups to retain their members if they do not have a strong core group. It can also be challenging to recruit new volunteers for groups that consist of people who know each other well and do not prioritise attracting new people. For future research, it would be interesting to take a closer look at the importance of building core groups to retain volunteers. It could also be valuable to explore what possibilities there are for volunteer units to collaborate.

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