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Developing Effective Volunteer-Employee Relationships

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There are many research studies on volunteerism from the perspective of volunteers. Among other things, researchers have asked volunteers why they do or do not volunteer, and why they remain in their roles or leave. However, research from the perspective of paid workers is sparse. In this Research to Practice, reviewer Laurie Mook looks at one study that contributes to filling this gap by comparing social workers who worked with volunteers to those who didn’t. The sample consisted of 287 social workers from 26 randomly selected municipal social service departments in Israel. The research identifies factors that fostered or impeded social workers’ engagement with volunteers, and provides suggestions for volunteer management practices that could lead to improved relationships between employees and volunteers.