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Volunteering and Communication

Studies from Multiple Contexts

Edited By Michael W. Kramer, Loril M. Gossett and Laurie K. Lewis

This book won the 2014 Applied Communication Division Award for Outstanding Edited Book

There is a growing interest in studying nonprofit organizations and volunteers as an alternative to studying employees in for-profit businesses and government agencies. This is driven in part by the recognition that volunteers make important contributions to society and the economy. This book is the first edited volume written primarily by communication scholars to focus on volunteers. It explores the experience of being a volunteer and managing volunteers through a focus on empirical examination of communication in volunteering. The contributors explore volunteers broadly and are divided into five sections which cover becoming a volunteer; learning about self as a volunteer; dark sides of volunteering; organizationally supported volunteering; and voice and dissent. The final chapter suggests areas of future research and application of the book.
An important focus of the book is its data-based, empirical studies. Although each chapter includes applications, those recommendations are based on systematic studies of volunteers rather than primarily on anecdotal evidence or previous literature. Furthermore, each chapter includes a brief field experience narrative written by a volunteer, as well as addressing a broader conceptual or theoretical issue of organizational studies. In this way the book provides more than just case studies of volunteers, but also addresses general organizational issues.


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Section 5: Voice and Dissent


Chapter 16 SPONTANEOUS VOLUNTEERS: UNDERSTANDING MEMBER IDENTIFICATION AMONG UNAFFILIATED VOLUNTEERS Loril M. Gossett 1 University of North Carolina at Charlotte Rachel A. Smith Pennsylvania State University The American Red Cross chapter of Central Texas (ARC-CENTEX) was uniquely impacted by 2005 hurricane season. During a seven-week period (August 30 to October 23, 2005), this American Red Cross (ARC) office provided services to evacuees from both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. Austin provided housing and other resources to approximately 30,000 people displaced by these back-to-back hurricanes. As a result, pre-trained volunteers and staff members of ARC-CENTEX needed help from the com- munity to support this massive relief effort. This study discusses some of the challenges and opportunities the ARC-CENTEX experienced when recruit- ing, placing, and managing previously unaffiliated volunteers who came out to help during these two events. Using organization identification as a prima- ry theoretical frame, this study highlights some of the unique issues organi- zations need to consider when working with spontaneous volunteers. Spontaneous Volunteers Motivations to Volunteer Scholars acknowledge that different types of volunteering exists (Ganesh & McAllum, 2009; Penner, Brannick, Webb, & Connell, 2005). People may 1This study is part of a larger project examining spontaneous volunteer management issues. The authors would like to thank the UT–Austin communication graduate students enrolled in qualitative methods course for their help. Additionally, the authors would like to thank the staff and volunteers at the American Red Cross of Central Texas for their support. 322 SPONTANEOUS VOLUNTEERS volunteer because they are drawn...

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