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Motivating and retaining volunteers in non-profit organizations: A qualitative study within the field of management, striving for improvements
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Non-profit organizations are different from profit organizations in many ways. One important aspect is that their operation is mainly built up by volunteers giving their timeand contributing to the operations within the organization. This is also one of the biggest issues non-profit organizations have to face daily, the fact that the management constantly be on the search for new volunteers. We decided that we wanted to know how some of these non-profit organizations work towards motivating and retaining their volunteers and if and how this work could be improved. We have done our research on the organizations the Red Cross, Save the Children and YMCA. We chose to do aqualitative research in order to get to know the organization and the people behind it enough to be able to answer our research question. We conducted the interviews with at least one person from each of the organizations that were in a managerial position and we also carried out interviews with a number of volunteers from each of the organizations from different operations.To be able to make conclusions from the empirical findings that we got we used a number of theories on the different subjects such as motivation and organizational theories. The empirical findings that we gathered from the interviews provided us with an insight in the organizations that we had hoped for as well as answers to our questions in a sufficient way. We found out what the major issues these organizations were struggling with according to the managers and from the volunteers we got information on how they want to be motivated and how that could help improve the work carried out by the volunteers.We have come up with suggestions on how this work could be improved for the best of both the organizations and the volunteers within them. The conclusions that we make from this is that there are simple but effective ways that these organizations can improve their work towards motivating and retaining their volunteers such as; creating a feeling of belonging with the organization by arranging meetings and gatherings; improving the communication between higher management and the volunteers in order to convey the mission and reason to why this work is carried out; and by giving the volunteers an opportunity to contribute in the way that fit them at different times in their life.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 68 p.
Keyword [en]
non-profit organization, volunteer, motivation, retainment
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-79090OAI: diva2:639371
Educational program
International Business Program
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2013-08-12 Created: 2013-08-07 Last updated: 2013-08-12Bibliographically approved

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