Publication Details

This article was originally published as: Dolnicar, S & Randle, M, Cultural Perceptions of Volunteering: Attracting Volunteers in an Increasingly Multicultural Society, ANZMAC 2005 (CD)Conference Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy, Fremantle, Western Australia, 5-7 December 2005.


Contributing 42 billion dollars to the Australian economy annually, volunteering has become an industry of major importance. The increasingly multicultural nature of Australia has presented new challenges for nonprofit marketers in terms of designing recruitment strategies that appeal to the extremely heterogeneous cultural groups that make up our society. While various studies have focused on the application of marketing techniques to the nonprofit sector, there has been a lack of research looking specifically at the nonprofit organisations competing within a particular marketplace, and whether the perceptions and image of these competitors differs between cultural groups. This empirical study seeks to address this issue by using qualitative methodology (structures in-depth interviews, phone interviews, focus groups, and short intercept interviews) to investigate the differences in perceptions of volunteering and volunteering organisations between key cultural minority groups within the Illawarra region of NSW, and to identify the implications of these differences for marketing managers. Clear differences with major managerial implications were revealed in the study: for instance, Macedonians and Greeks are looking to socialise with other people from their own culture, whereas others are looking for opportunities to mix with Australians and practice their English speaking skills. Perceptions vary widely as well, from a service to society over slavery and the appropriateness for men or women to engage in volunteering only.