Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

16563 Examining Outcomes When Volunteer Skill Sets Are Matched to Specific Volunteer Opportunities: A Study of Volunteering Among Older Adults In South Korea

Friday, January 13, 2012: 11:00 AM
Franklin Square (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Jihyun Park, MSW, PhD, Researcher, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY
Miseung Shim, PhD, Assistant Professor, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, South Korea
Purpose: Older volunteers have unique characteristics and are vastly different from previous generations of volunteers (Einolf, 2008). They have overlooked and undervalued skills that agencies can tap for service to their communities and for civic engagement. To do so, non-profit organizations can develop strategic approaches to managing the match between volunteer skills and volunteer activities. The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether planned “matching” of an older volunteer with an agency, based on the volunteer's skill set and the organizational needs, results in greater volunteer satisfaction, commitment and role identity with the volunteering experience than when placement occurs without consideration of the volunteer's skill sets and/or organization's need.

Method: This causal comparative/ex post facto design has an availability sample of 274 volunteers engaged in volunteering at service organizations in Seoul and Kyunggi Province, South Korea. Motivation, personality, satisfaction, commitment, role identification and well-being of older volunteers were measured using 5-point Likert scales. Well-being, satisfaction, commitment and role identification are outcome variables reflecting meaningful volunteer engagement. Independent variables include motivation, personality and matching skills.

Findings: The average age of total respondents is 57 years old, ranging from 45 to 84 years old. 86.1 % are female and 45 % fully retired, with an average of 21.86 hours volunteering per month. Among “matched” participants, 40% (n=76) of respondents were fully retired, approximately twice as many who were partially retired (20.3%, n=39) (X2=5.356, p< .05). Meaningful volunteer engagement (i.e., well-being, satisfaction and role identification) as the dependent variables predicted significant mean differences between two groups: respondents with “matched skill sets” experienced higher average levels of meaningful volunteer engagement (3.29<µ <4.13, p<.05) compared to those with “no matched skill sets” (2.89<µ<3.55, p<.05). Multiple regression analyses found significant direct effect between a set of independent and dependent variables. In terms of mediating effects, the Sobel test found indirect effects of motivation on satisfaction (X2=.043, t=2.729, p <.05), personality on satisfaction (X2=.485, t=4.173, p<.001) and personality on role identification (X2=.064, t=3.025, p<.05),even when mediated by degree of matching skill sets. This suggests a significant mediator as the degree of matched skill sets. Overall, the path model analysis indicates the data support the conceptual model, with the final model producing fit indices well within the range of a good fit of the data to the model (X2=9.712, p>.05, CFI=.991, RMSEA=.06).

Implication: This investigation demonstrates that “matching skill sets” as a mediator, which is connected to motivation and personality, along with well-being, satisfaction and role identification affect a volunteer's positive well-being. A key implication at the individual level is that understanding the transitional phase of retirement and creating volunteer opportunities that match not only the level of willingness to volunteer but the skill sets brought to the volunteer experience by the volunteer candidate will enhance volunteer outcomes. Also, at the agency level, applying this matching principle can enable organizations to decrease the turnover rate and increase the retention rate of volunteers.

<< Previous Abstract | Next Abstract