An Investigation into The Methods and Strategies Organisations Use to Retain Volunteers
The events industry is divided up into various thriving sectors and volunteers play a vital role in each sector. For most organisations, executing an event would not be possible without the continued support of volunteers. During this study, the researcher asked the question of ‘do you find there has been an increase or decrease in volunteering?’ the answer had a mixed response. Most organisations believe there has been an increase due to a higher percentage of organisations employing volunteers. Consequently, it is the event manager’s responsibility to adopt strategies to help with retaining volunteers because there has been an increase in competition recently. The purpose of this study is to investigate the commitment organisations receive from volunteers and what strategies are they using to retain them for longer. Following on an in-depth analysis of relevant literature, where key themes emerged and thus sculpted the nature of the study and questions to be asked within the data collection. There are many factors influencing retention that will be analysed in this research with the two main influences being motivation and satisfaction. However, the researcher discovers first hand from the participants that there is more to retaining volunteers than these two factors. There are various reasons why the researcher believes this topic should be explored further such as the topic is relevant and current. For example, ten years from now organisations will still rely on volunteers to make events feasible. Through understanding the strategies implied by organisations to retain volunteers, this will help not only the future of the events industry but the service sector as a whole. Wilks (2014) makes a valid point that event managers are relying more and more on volunteers as a staffing provision for their business needs. In correspondence to this research project, the data collected emphasises Wilks (2014) point of view. Almost all participants coincided this statement, which highlights why this research is important for the future of volunteers and most prominently the events industry. The researcher conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with various volunteer managers from different organisations. One pilot study was conducted from which the researcher adjusted some of the questions then conducted six in-depth interviews. The demographics of the interview participants varied between gender, age and job role. The researcher did not have a specific criterion for the participants but the researcher believes using purposive sampling will assist in achieving more rich data. The researcher has chosen managers of organisations who primarily deal with volunteers and this is the rationale for choosing purposive sampling. The interview schedule was broken down into themed sections while the researcher probed to achieve the best results. These themes emerged from the literature review and are used simultaneously throughout the research project. The study presents an in-depth analysis from the collection of data and reviewing any links to previous research on retaining volunteers. The researcher found the results from the data collection to be extremely mixed. Some of the responses were particularly similar and other questions had opposite views. The findings from this study are of value to other event managers, as they can take note of the positive aspects of retaining volunteers from the first-hand experience of the organisations that took part in the study. This research project can also be enhanced and used for future research, where the researcher could expand the search to UK wide or internationally.