Volunteering in Under-Resourced Rural Communities

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Use this report to tailor a volunteer program in rural communities.

Findings from this study underscored the need for a greater focus on mobilizing low-income volunteers as equal partners in addressing the intractable social and economic challenges faced by rural families and communities today.

The study brought to light the uniquely rural conditions that affect volunteer engagement and highlighted the need for a strategic and intentional approach to volunteer engagement. Findings also helped identify critical challenges that prevent participation and uncover effective strategies in engaging and empowering rural residents.

The study goals were as follows:

  • Deepen understanding of volunteer engagement in rural communities.
  • Examine the applicability of the neighboring model to rural communities.
  • Identify practices that document and support volunteering / neighboring by, in and with under-resourced rural communities.

The study included a literature survey, key informant interviews with 10 rural volunteer management practitioners, three focus groups, and a partnership with three Volunteer Centers for a focused study of volunteer practices in rural communities.

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