Organisation Culture and Volunteers

Organisational culture is most important in recruiting and retaining volunteers. If the organisation culture is generally negative, it becomes most difficult to interest people to offer themselves for committee or other voluntary positions.

What is culture?

Organisation culture is very difficult to define, yet it is undeniably very powerful. It is visible and it is experienced, see table below.

Culture of the Club
Culture is Visible
Culture is Experienced
The clothing worn
The discipline and conduct of parents
Flags and emblems
Shared beliefs on what is important
How people behave
Whether members trust the committee
Cleanliness of facilities
The sense of fair play adopted
War dances and other ceremonies
Treatment of people with differing opinions
The dedication of volunteers
Stories of past heroes and villains

Culture is a system of shared values and beliefs about what is important, what behaviours are appropriate and how the people in the organisation relate to one another.

Culture gives organisations a sense of direction. It is persuasive and tends to have an affect on everyone in the organisation. A positive culture energises people and stimulates organisation growth and development. A negative culture drains energy and causes organisations to 'implode'.

Level of Trust

Trust is a very important aspect of organisation culture. The level of trust within an organisation has direct consequences on the recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Trust is about believing in the honesty and integrity of others. In an environment where there is trust, people are generally satisfied that volunteers work for the good of the organisation as a whole, rather than serving their own self-interest. In an environment of trust there is more likelihood of that the membership will:

In contrast, culture of mistrust leads to:

Strategies for improving trust

Good positive leadership is a main factor in developing organisation culture. Good leadership will enable:


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