Self-perceptions of volunteer management:: a texas 4-h volunteer needs assessment



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The purpose of this study was to assess the management of volunteers through self-perceptions of Texas 4-H volunteers. This research was an on-line questionnaire designed to assess volunteers? attitudes toward recruitment, orientation, training, resources, utilization, motivations for continuation of service, and recognition. The population was volunteers enrolled in the Texas 4-H Program during the 2007-2008 program year. The census included 711 Texas 4-H volunteer respondents. This study used a questionnaire designed by the researcher and a team of faculty and staff at a major land grant university and a demographics questionnaire. SPSS? 16.0 for Windows? was used to analyze the data. The study revealed that most Texas 4-H volunteers are oriented and trained in their roles and responsibilities as a volunteer, have additional opportunities for training in their role as club managers or project leaders, have the resources necessary to fulfill their role, and are recognized for their contributions to the Texas 4-H Program. However, as with any program, there is room for improvement. Respondents indicated a need for curriculum development in volunteer and club management. Additionally, 83% of volunteers began volunteering because they had children or family enrolled in the 4-H program; however, volunteers are motivated to continue to serve as volunteers because they want to help youth and support youth development, the 4-H program, agriculture, and family and community development. Respondents indicated they chose to discontinue serving as a 4-H volunteer due to lack of county Extension staff support, lack of time, children aging out of the program, and burnout. The following recommendations for action were based on the findings and conclusions of this study. Volunteer orientation and training programs should become an integral part of all county 4-H volunteer management programs. Curriculum should be developed in the areas of volunteer and club management. In addition, all volunteers should be recognized for their contributions to the program. Orientation, training, and recognition of 4-H volunteers will provide opportunities for volunteers to build an affiliation for the Texas 4-H program, and in turn, motivate volunteers to continue to serve the 4-H youth development program.