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When Management Gets in the Way

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Surveys have long raised questions about volunteer management practices. The problem with surveys, argues nonprofit management and leadership professor Mark A. Hager, is that “we can’t reliably know what’s really responsible for some trend or relationships we see in pairs of variables.”

In this quarter’s Research to Practice, Hager looks at a study involving disaster response volunteering with the American Red Cross. In this study, the authors actually ask dedicated volunteers about their satisfactions and dissatisfactions, and talk about them. Hager notes that “hearing real volunteers talk about their experiences can go a lot further in filling in some of the blanks left by survey research.”