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Evaluating the Effects of Credentialing vs. Not Credentialing

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This quarter’s Research to Practice approaches the issue of credentialing in volunteer management by looking at one possible framework for evaluating the effects of credentialing or not credentialing. For this review, writer Laurie Mook turns to David Suárez, Ph.D., a well-known researcher in nonprofit management who developed a typology of nonprofit sector leaders for his article, “Street Credentials and Management Backgrounds: Careers of Nonprofit Executives in an Evolving Sector,” published in the journal Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly in 2010.

As Mook points out, Suárez, assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development, frames his work in a typology of four 'ideal' types of nonprofit leaders. Suárez bases these types on two factors:  the degree of nonprofit experience, and the extent of management background and credentials.  In this Research to Practice, Mook switches the focus from the nonprofit as a whole to the volunteer management function.  In doing so, Mook is able to ponder some important research questions of her own. For instance, is  volunteer retention more likely to be higher in a volunteer program directed by someone with lots of nonprofit experience but no credentials? Or is volunteer retention higher in a program directed by someone with little nonprofit experience but with credentials?  Mook’s review of Suárez’ work and her valuable insights provide an important addition to e-Volunteerism’s special issue on credentialing