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Volunteering an Opinion: Organizational Voice and Volunteer Retention in Nonprofit Organizations

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Volunteer “voice” in nonprofit organizations has not been the topic of a lot of study. What happens, for instance, when volunteers encounter situations they find dissatisfying? This issue’s Research to Practice looks at this subject through “Volunteering an Opinion: Organizational Voice and Volunteer Retention in Nonprofit Organizations,”published in the academic journal, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, in October 2011. This study reviews the experiences of over 380 volunteers at several nonprofits in Southern California. It used an online survey to ask volunteers how they reacted to a particular dissatisfying circumstance, and then related their responses to their motivations for volunteering - and the degree of satisfaction with their experience. As writer Laurie Mook points out, the research reveals a relationship between the particular motivation leading volunteers to work for the organization and how they respond to dissatisfaction. The study also provides suggestions for eliciting constructive feedback from volunteers while also encouraging volunteer satisfaction and retention.