Academic journal article College Student Journal

Needs Assessment of Volunteers in a Non-Profit Organization in Taiwan

Academic journal article College Student Journal

Needs Assessment of Volunteers in a Non-Profit Organization in Taiwan

Article excerpt

The idea of helping people by the medium of telephone was inspired by Rev. Alan Walker, Superintendent of the Central Methodist Mission in Sydney since 1958. Having made several radio and TV appearances, Rev. Walker found himself being called by people facing difficulties and personal crises. He did not have the time or the energy to give them the attention they demanded and deserved. Thus, Rev. Walker conceived of the idea of inviting the lonely and troubled to call a telephone number where selected and trained volunteers could offer a "listening ear" and allow the callers a place to have their voices heard.


Soon after the Sydney Centre opened, the American based magazine "Time" featured the Lifeline service in its International Edition on January 24th, 1964. This brought inquiries from all over the world. Branches of this center have begun to emerge in other cities around the globe. Lifeline Association, Taichung, Taiwan began on March 1975 by twenty-one enthusiastic people nearby Taichung County and registered as a legal social group on October 4, 1975. Right now, the director of Lifeline Association, Taichung, Taiwan is Ms. Chu-Jung Chou.

No matter in any condition this nonprofit organization, Lifeline Association, Taichung, has been, its service is 24/7. According to the past organizational record, there were around 1,200 new calls to Lifeline Association, Taichung on the monthly basis and an average of over 14,400 calls were answered annually. Moreover, the Lifeline Association, Taichung is the longest history and the second large-scale among 26 national locations in Taiwan. The following figure displays the organizational structure of Lifeline association, Taichung, Taiwan at present.


Continuously, the organizational missions and goals of Lifeline Association, Taichung are respectively stated below in Table 1.

This needs assessment for this project consisted of three purposes. The primary purpose is to realize the training barriers between the volunteers and the administration center in one of flagship non-profit organizations in Taiwan, Lifeline Taichung, Taiwan. The second purpose is to analyze the existing training gaps and the source will be from two techniques, face to face interviews and questionnaires. The final purpose is to offer the valuable and practical suggestions to whom to reduce and solve the training barriers.

Based on the volunteer database of Lifeline Association, Taichung, it demonstrates that there are 200 volunteers who are implementing their charitable duty regularly and at present. Since the number of volunteers is quite large, the questionnaire method would be the most direct and convenient technique to survey the training demand and gap of volunteers in Lifeline Association, Taichung. Based on the analysis of the returned questionnaires with the return rate as high as 85 %, it revealed that most of participants agreed their on-the-job-training was not very congruent with their needs, and that the design of training sessions were not very innovative.


Based on the information provided above, the administration center included one director, one supervisor, two social workers, and one accountant. Actually, the director, the supervisor, and two social workers were responsible for the volunteers' training design and the training instructors as well. In order to realize the philosophy and concept of the training provided by the administration center, the interview method would be more accurate for the researcher to comprehend the intention and expected effect of training on volunteers from the administrative perspective. After the interview notes from the administrators were compared to the survey results from volunteers, discrepancies were found between the two sides in aspects of the training concepts, design, and direction.


The whole 200 volunteers in Lifeline Association, Taichung would be the questionnaire target and the term of this survey would be from June 25th, 2007 till July 9th, 2007. …

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