Everything to gain : facilitating intergenerational communication
Hill, Gwen Elaine Thompson
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SubjectCommunication; Exploratory case study; Interdisciplinary; Intergenerational; Mixed methods; Volunteering
This research explored the experiences of volunteers connected to organizations through the non-profit organization Volunteer Victoria. The study investigated the perceived and experienced intergenerational communication challenges of volunteers, and the volunteers’ ensuing needs and expectations. Through an online survey and semi-structured interviews, volunteers discussed their perceptions and experiences with volunteer organizations in the Greater Victoria Region. Guided by the frameworks of generational and communication theories, and held within the principles, tools, and practices of an exploratory case study methodology, this mixed-methods study addressed the research question, In what ways can Volunteer Victoria best support its member agencies in fostering intergenerational communication for volunteers?. This study reinforced scholarly and industry knowledge that the generations have differing communication needs and that there is value, for all organizational stakeholders, in fulfilling those needs in the non-profit sector. If intergenerational communication is not fostered, there are many implications. Among the highest-risk implications are: the loss of knowledge that could be transferred from senior volunteers to younger and emerging generations of volunteers, and the impact on the organization’s reputation associated with poor engagement of volunteers. Included in the design of this research is an intention to follow up, with organizations that are willing, in order to learn of any outcomes or impacts of the disseminated research.
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