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Improving the recruitment and retention of volunteers

Research team: Kirsten Holmes
CIC Specialist: Dan Marrable

Professor Kirsten Holmes has been leading an ARC Linkage project to increase volunteer participation in Australia. Volunteering in Australia has been in long time decline with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that only a third of the population engage in volunteer activities. With the reliance of volunteers for fire, ambulance and other emergency services, hospitals, schools, sports clubs, social welfare and community events (to name but a few), this is alarming.

Part of this project involved developing a tool for volunteer-involving organisations to improve their recruitment and retention processes. Data were collected from eight exemplary volunteer programs across Australia to develop a framework for recruitability – an organisation’s ability to recruit and retain volunteers. The case study analysis revealed eight dimensions of recruitability, which were used to develop four matrices that volunteer-involving organisations could use to test their current practices and identify how they could improve their program.

So far so, good but the project team were working from an excel document, trying to figure out how to turn this into an online tool, which could be freely available to volunteer-involving organisations. That’s where Faculty of Business and Law’s data scientist Dan Marrable became involved with the project. Dan was able to interpret the team’s vision and create an online version of the tool, with key questions and resources to help organisations all in time for the team’s presentation at the National Volunteering Conference in June 2018. The final recruitability tool is available here (alongside another tool the team have developed for calculating an individual’s likelihood of volunteering)