Contributing an estimated AUD42 billion dollars a year to the Australian economy and US150 billion dollars to the USA, volunteering has become an industry sector of major importance. It has consequently attracted significant attention among researchers of various disciplines, including marketing. Nevertheless, the industry is confronted with ongoing challenges, particularly in the area of recruitment. This article provides a review of prior marketing-related studies and identifies a number of gaps in the research, such as a limitation in the past to a priori approaches to categorising volunteers, which has offered limited insight and conflicting results. The authors recommend a more comprehensive investigation of heterogeneity amongst volunteers through a posteriori segmentation which will allow precise targeting of specific segments. In addition, a more comprehensive investigation of competition and positioning in the industry is recommended which will facilitate an integrated market structure analysis and lead to more efficient and effective marketing strategies for nonprofit organisations. As a specific example, a better understanding of volunteering motivations in multicultural societies is needed to optimise targeted recruitment messages.
This article was originally published as Dolnicar, S and Randle, M, Marketing Research for Volunteering: A Research Agenda, in Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy (ANZMAC) Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, 2004.