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Leveraging Volunteer Resource Practices to Develop Leaders

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What role can volunteering and leaders of volunteer engagement play in developing future leaders? This Research to Practice reviews a new instrument developed specifically to help volunteer resource managers identify future leaders in their volunteer base.

Recognizing that many of the qualities that prompt individuals to volunteer are also qualities of leaders, leadership development researchers Janina Fuller and Curtis Friedel set out to develop a way to identify volunteers who had the desire and potential to develop as leaders. To do so, they conducted two surveys with volunteers from HandsOn Network affiliates across the U.S. The first survey aimed to understand volunteers’ perceived advantages and disadvantages of developing leadership as volunteers. The second survey posed questions to volunteers to capture leadership behaviors and intentions. As the authors write, “Organizations that purposefully recognize their volunteers’ leadership skills generate positive consequences not only for themselves and their volunteers, but also for the clients and the communities they serve.”