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It Ain't Natural: Toward a New (Natural) Resource Conceptualization for Volunteer Management

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Reviewed by

Jeffrey L. Brudney and Lucas C.P.M. Meijs
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
2009, Vol. 38, No. 4, pages 564-581
http://nvs.sagepub.com/

This month’s Research to Practice takes a slight detour from reviewing research to report on an article that tries to take a completely new view on some well-known volunteer issues.  The article, called “It Ain’t Natural: Toward a New (Natural) Resource Conceptualization for Volunteer Management,” is written by Jeffrey L. Brudney and Lucas C.P.M. Meijs and published in the April 16, 2009 edition of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Steven Howlett explains that in their article, the authors ask readers to consider what would happen if “we draw our eye from the need to recruit volunteers all the time and start to focus on retention?” So far not so new, Howlett admits, before adding that “the authors think they have a new way to describe how we should think of volunteers.  We should look on them as a natural resource, and one that can be exhausted or managed sustainably.” Instead of reviewing research, this popular e-Volunteerism feature may just trigger some research of its own as the authors attempt to extend this new way of thinking into implications for management.