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Autumn 2011: Volunteering

From the Editor

2011 is the tenth anniversary of the international year of volunteering. Ten years ago, the United Nations declared 2001 to be the international year of volunteering and this had a strong impact on enhancing volunteering in developed and developing countries. In 2011 the UN will commemorate the 10 year anniversary by publishing the World State of Volunteering. As such, it is appropriate that the first Knowledge Connect in 2011 is dedicated to volunteering.

As Prof. Ram Cnaan writes in his book review here, 20 years ago literature on volunteering was narrow enough for one person to read. Nowadays, it is an impossible task to read it all. With several academic journals dedicated to the subject, numerous books and websites, the available knowledge is quite broad. This is all part of the professionalisation process of volunteer management. Cnaan’s review is of a book that, although not recent, is the most thorough coverage of research on volunteering.

Volunteering is an activity which has many stakeholders involved: the volunteers, the not-for-profits (NFPs) and their employees, the recipients, and others. Rogelberg discusses volunteering from the NFPs employee’s perceptive, while Lee looks at corporate volunteering from the NFPs angle. Further, the volunteer’s family and community are also important players, as explained by Cowlishaw. The government is another stakeholder, and the article by Pick describes the impact of State and Federal governments on volunteering in WA. Finally, for volunteering to be ethical and socially inclusive, some measures need to be taken, as discussed by Miller.

Links are provided to the full articles so you can investigate those that interest you. On the Knowledge Connect website I have included editorial comments on some articles. We encourage you to add your comments to the site, as well as ideas for future issues.

Dr Debbie Haski-Leventhal

Guest Editor, Knowledge Connect

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