With increasing numbers of non-profit organizations and higher demand for a wider range of social services, the need for volunteers has never been greater. There is general agreement that competition within the sector is increasing, and this has led to organizations placing greater emphasis on building strong brand images to differentiate themselves from competitors. However, there are also many instances where non-profits have successfully collaborated with each other to achieve efficiencies and meet objectives. The purpose of this exploratory study is to examine, which of these approaches - competition or collaboration - is more appropriate for the challenge of volunteer recruitment. We use data from an empirical study of 1415 Australians to investigate whether, based on perceived organizational brand images, volunteering organizations compete with each other for volunteers or are seen as complimentary. Results indicate that while consideration of organizations with certain brand images - especially the Heroes image - means that donation of time to other volunteering organizations is unlikely, other organizational brand images, such as that of being a local volunteering organization or one that provides support to people experiencing difficulty are likely to be compatible, opening up valuable opportunities for collaborative marketing for the purpose of volunteer recruitment.
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Journal of Brand Management. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Competition or collaboration? The effect of non-profit brand image on volunteer recruitment strategy. Journal of Brand Management, 20 (8), 689-704 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/bm.2013.9