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Case Studies of Nonprofit Organizations and Volunteers

Edited By Jennifer Mize Smith and Michael W. Kramer

Given the increasing presence of nonprofit organizations and their impact upon American society, colleges and universities are recognizing the need to offer courses and programs to train current and future employees, volunteers, and supporters of the nonprofit sector.
This volume, featuring empirically-based case studies, provides an opportunity to analyze communication and other organizational issues in nonprofit, volunteer, and philanthropic contexts. Each case is designed to help readers critically think about the particular nonprofit context, the organizational issues presented, the ways in which those issues could be addressed, whose interests are served, and potential consequences for the organization and its various stakeholders.
This collection offers a unique glimpse into everyday issues and challenges related to working in and with nonprofit organizations, making it a valuable resource for undergraduate and graduate courses in nonprofit management, nonprofit communication, voluntarism, philanthropic studies, and social entrepreneurship. Each case also addresses a broader conceptual or theoretical framework of organizational studies, making it appropriate in other organizational communication courses as well.


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Section Five: International Volunteering: Training, Acculturation, and Identity


International Volunteering: Training, Acculturation, and Identity s e c t i o n f i v e Cross-Cultural Engagement and the Effectiveness of Overseas NPOs Peace Corps Volunteers in Gambia* kim fletcher and may hongmei gao Kennesaw State University Part I: Training Colleen and David landed in Gambia, a small English-speaking country in West Africa, with a group of 23 volunteers. Colleen was accepted to the Peace Corps for her background in web design, and so she was surprised to learn of her assignment in the Corps’ education sector. David already taught science in the US, and he was excited to begin his service. Prior to leaving, the volunteers spent three days in Washington, DC, for a crash course in culture shock and adjustment to life overseas. They learned that they should expect a “honeymoon” phase during which everything would appear new, different, and exciting, followed by a dis-integration or isolation period when they might be homesick, overwhelmed, or hostile toward the new culture. Finally, they would possibly experience a last stage of fitting in and happiness, if they chose to get to know the local people and adapt to local customs. Colleen was still mulling over a quote she found in the volunteer handbook, which stated: “Being in the Peace Corps is like wearing a bunny suit while standing on a crowded street corner in New York, walking up to someone, and saying in a funny accent, ‘Hi, I’m here to help!’” Six months ago, when assigned to...

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