Enhancing the Sustainability of Nonprofit Organizations through Service-Learning: Increasing the Propensity for Post-Graduation Volunteerism

By Victoria Calvert, Elise Calvert and Shirley Rose.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the era of the post-financial meltdown and aging demographics nonprofit organizations are struggling to offset declining donations through volunteer services. Consequently, volunteer recruitment, training and retention have been identified as crucial to maintain the viability of nonprofit entities. Research directed at identifying predictors for volunteering may enable modifications to volunteer planning and programming by nonprofit managers, potentially expanding the volunteer base, thereby contributing to enhanced sustainability.
Engaging students through Service-Learning (SL) pedagogy has been widely adopted as an effective method to promote community engagement, ethical values, and cognitive skills, as well as promoting future volunteerism. This paper builds upon the SL frameworks which define the contextual factors impacting SL outcomes by exploring the student experience in a Leadership Development course offered at an undergraduate focused Canadian university, identifying factors controlled by community organizations that enhance, or discourage, future volunteerism. Results showed significant effects for contextual factors controlled by the community organizations on student indicators of future volunteerism. Implications for nonprofit managers and the faculty structuring of SL experiences are also discussed.

Keywords: Service-Learning, Volunteerism, Sustainable Nonprofit Organizations

The International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.37-59. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 368.019KB).

Victoria Calvert

Associate Professor, Bissett School of Business, Mount Royal University, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Victoria has been a full-time professor in the Bissett School of Business at Mount Royal since 1994, teaching advanced venture and management courses. She has been instrumental in developing the curriculum for several courses in the Entrepreneurship program including New Venture Feasibility, the Consulting Practicum, and Entrepreneurial Leadership. Her teaching philosophy supports learning through service, with her students providing over 70,000 hours of community service since 1996. She is one of the Canadian co-authors of the 4th Canadian edition of the text Small Business Management, published by Nelson in 2009. The text is a Canada’s bestseller and is used at over 34 universities and colleges at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She has been awarded a teaching award by the students of Mount Royal University, and was recently nominated for a “Distinguished Teaching” award by both faculty and students.

Elise Calvert

Graduate Student, University of Saskatoon, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Shirley Rose

Associate Professor, Mount Royal University, Alberta, Canada