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Volunteer Recruitment and Why People Do Not Volunteer

Volunteer management and volunteer recruitment studies often consider the issues of why people do volunteer, especially in looking at research into volunteer motivations. Far less often is research concentrated on why people do not volunteer.

Interestingly, although each and every day millions of people around the world give of their time and energy to make a difference through volunteering, a far greater number do not volunteer.

Yet, research has found that many more people believe and think that they ‘should’ volunteer as compared to those who do volunteer.

So what are the hurdles people perceive to their ability to volunteer for an organization or group?

Our Research into People Who Do Not Volunteer

In our recent research, non-volunteers rated 21 responses as to why they had not volunteered. Of those 21 statements here are the top responses to the statement:

‘I would volunteer if…’

1. I knew the volunteer opportunity was meaningful, or made a difference in people’s lives.

2. I weren’t so busy with family and other obligations.

3. I found an organization, where I really believed in their philosophy and mission.

4. I knew the volunteer environment to be pleasant and safe.

5. I weren’t so busy with other interests and hobbies.

6. I weren’t so busy at work.

7. The volunteer opportunity was offered or needed by an organization or group I belong to.

Interesting Key Responses

Meaningful voluntary work, belief in the organizational mission, a pleasant and safe environment and helping out an organization they already belong to were important key responses from non-volunteers.

Time Poor Volunteering Issue

But it is the feeling of being ‘time poor’ and the busyness of people’s lives with work, family, hobbies and other obligations that is the most consistent reason people give for not volunteering.

So how do you convert ‘time-poor’ non-volunteers into ‘time-rich’ volunteers? In the bonus idea below we will consider an excellent ‘time’ tip used by one group in the field to get you really thinking about this issue in volunteer management.

Adapted from the Volunteer Motivation Research Report Appendix 1- The Non-Volunteering Study by Dr Judy Esmond and Patrick Dunlop

Bonus Volunteer Idea for Time Poor Volunteers

In volunteer management, you want to keep volunteers who are feeling time poor coming back again and again? You have to be very creative in finding ways to give them back time – here is one idea for you. In one organization, in exchange for three hours of volunteer work each week, another ‘fruit and vegetable’ volunteer takes orders each week and buys fresh fruit and vegetables in bulk for all the other volunteers at the local markets. Buying in bulk means that all the volunteers save money and volunteers know that they don’t have to worry about finding additional time to shop.

This idea and 100 more ideas can be found in the complimentary download book that you can have instant access to when you fill in your first name and email address to the right.

Click here for further articles on volunteer recognition, volunteer recruitment and volunteer management.