Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Nonprofits and Volunteers in North Dakota Communities

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Nonprofits and Volunteers in North Dakota Communities

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study looks at non-profit organizations in North Dakota to see how they attract and keep volunteers, how volunteer hours can be used to draw funding to nonprofits, and the increasingly important role non-profit groups play in local economies by creating jobs, services, and acting as a voice for those who might not be heard otherwise. Results show how universities can support local communities by developing research data nonprofit groups can use to solve practical problems, by acting as a bridge between student volunteers and appropriate organizations, and by creating a journal or online site communities can use to connect with each other and as a resource for information. This paper examines the following questions: which kinds of volunteer work do the people in North Dakota consider beneficial? What do residents consider to be the main benefits of volunteer work in U.S. society? What do they consider to be the main problems and challenges associated with volunteer work in U.S. society? The research used qualitative methods. The study made use of focus group data and panel discussions analysis published in academic journals. The research concluded that the main issues confronting volunteer organizers are limited resources, and the need for information and knowledge about volunteer efforts in North Dakota. In these circumstances community engagement centers serve as vital sources of news and information. They can also serve as a prospective mobilizing platform for volunteer organizations.

Key words: Volunteering work; Community engagement; Opportunities for engagement and university collaborations

INTRODUCTION

People around the world volunteer to support their friends' family> neighbors, (TM)d communities. Non-profit organizations are well-represented in American history and volunteerism remains part of the American legacy, Around eighty-nine percent of households in America give money to charitable organizations. In addition, around forty-four percent of adults contribute their time to work for charity (Mutz & Murray, 2006). One modem urban myth claims people volunteer because they have nothing else to do, but people volunteer for many different reasons (Mutz & Murray, 2006). The definition of "volunteer" includes people who provide their services, in terms of time and skills, without any sort of monetary benefit (Starnes, 2004). If boredom is not the basis for volunteering, and volunteers are not paid, what motivates people to volunteer? This paper will use existing studies and data collected in North Dakota communities to discuss some of the reasons why people feel the need to volunteer, to build their own organizations if an appropriate nonprofit group is not available, and to examine what volunteer resources non-profits need to reach their goals, According to Volunteering in America (2011):

Volunteering and Civic Engagement in North Dakota trends and highlights overview overall, in North Dakota in 2011: 30.6% of residents volunteer, ranking them 16th among the 50 states In ND 71.9% do favors for their neighbors. 90.1% eat dinner with family a few tiraes a week or more. 48 6% discuss P°litics a few times a month or more. There are 158,280 volunteers for 14 t million hours of service and $306 4 of service contributed, (p.i)

Nonprofit organizations are part of the American legacy. Nonprofit groups draw people who want to save and serve others, and to influence public policy by giving those they represent a public voice (National Council of Nonprofits, 2013; Bradbum, 2009). Voluntary work and community service have become increasingly important in recent times (AmeriCorps VISTA, 2011). Studies show people volunteer for personal and practical reasons, and communities benefit economically and through improved quality of life for residents. Volunteers benefit through personal association with others, adding skills to their resumes, making their voices heard and by knowing they are improving their communities (Prins et al. …

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