A happy volunteer

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Title A happy volunteer: workgroup volunteer board development
Author(s) Amie Swallow MacDonald
Date 2012
Institution University of Prince Edward Island
Supervisor(s) Blake Jelley
Degree earned Master of Business Administration
Place published Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Abstract The purpose of this paper is to look specifically at workgroup boards to identify their motivations and challenges, and to develop recommendations on how to address those challenges. Workgroup boards are volunteer boards that have to both govern and manage because they do not have paid executive staff. This paper looks particularly at volunteer community development organizations in Eastern Prince Edward Island who play an important role in their rural communities by providing required infrastructure and services. It was determined through observation, focus groups, and interviews that the challenges these volunteers face include poor time management and lack of clarity of roles and responsibilities. These challenges can cause an organization to be inefficient which, in turn, can contribute to the workgroup boards’ greatest challenge of recruiting and retaining quality volunteers. It is assumed that more effective boards will give rise to a better volunteer experience which will facilitate the recruitment and retention of quality volunteers. There is no one list of practices that every board can implement to improve board effectiveness. Each board must determine what efforts or practices are best for them. However, this report makes recommendations that provide workgroup boards with a place to start. The recommendations include motivating core volunteers to initiate change, participating in training opportunities, having scheduled strategy sessions to discuss the organization’s role and board development plans, and to acknowledge volunteers’ efforts. It was also identified that volunteer workgroup boards will need additional support to be successful in these efforts whether through government or some other source. The most important thing for volunteer workgroup boards to understand about improving their effectiveness and volunteer experiences is that it is a continuous process and will require ongoing efforts.
Use/Reproduction In presenting this signature project report in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, the author has agreed that the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, may make this signature project freely available for inspection and gives permission to add an electronic version of the signature project to the Digital Repository at the University of Prince Edward Island. Moreover the author further agrees that permission for extensive copying of this signature project report for scholarly purposes may be granted by the professor or professors who supervised the author’s project work, or, in their absence, by the Dean of the School of Business. It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this signature project report or parts thereof for financial gain shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to the author and to the University of Prince Edward Island in any scholarly use which may be made of any material in the author’s report.

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