Administration in social work vol:33 issue:2 pages:202-220
To understand volunteer retention and recruitment in complex organizations, this paper focuses on volunteers’ attachment to a multipurpose and multi-branch organization. Using the Red Cross in Flanders (Belgium), a service organization with multiple locations offering a variety of programs, we investigate whether volunteers’ attachment is primarily directed toward the organization as a whole, or whether volunteers are more prone to develop localized attachment to the program or branch in which they participate. Our findings suggest that managers recruiting volunteers to large complex organizations should be cautious in using the overarching organizational mission to attract volunteers. Rather, attention should be put on specific programs and activities using volunteers. It is only through longer-term service that volunteers appreciate the organization’s mission and principles and find their allegiance to the organization as a whole.