Strategic marketing communications to increase volunteer retention within nonprofit organizations
Little, Sheniqua K.
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This research examined whether customized communications could influence volunteersatisfaction and volunteer retention. This customization approach was based on a functionalistperspective that human behavior is motivated by the need to achieve or fulfill specific goals.When a need or goal is met, then behavior continues in order to maintain fulfillment of the goalor need. Therefore, in this research, if nonprofits could change perceptions of motive fulfillmentthrough communication, then volunteers would be more likely to continue in the volunteerbehavior. This study customized communication by matching thank-you letters with volunteerprimary motives, based on the Volunteer Functions Inventory. This study tested whethervolunteers could experience satisfaction through matched communication, even if their actualvolunteer assignment did not address their volunteer motive.Regression analysis was used to model self-reported intention and satisfaction from sixdependent variables: intent to remain in organization, intent to remain in assignment, satisfactionin organization, satisfaction in assignment, level of activity in organization, and level of activityin assignment. Matched thank-you letters did not have the impact originally expected, althoughthe effect may be diluted because the volunteers were exposed to the letter only once. However,one actionable finding for nonprofit organizations emerged. When nonprofits identifyvolunteers’ primary motive and fulfill that motive better than they fulfill all other motives,volunteers stay longer in the nonprofit organization. Additionally, this study’s results suggestthat when volunteers have high motivation, there is a direct correlation to greater satisfaction andhigher participation in volunteer activities.