April 30, 2008

DMOZ/ODP Community Management

It is now a month since I resigned as a volunteer meta editor in the Open Directory Project, and I continue to have very mixed feelings about that.  At the time I left, there were good reasons for doing so, and subsequent events have shown that the decision was the right one for me. Nevertheless, I still feel a great sadness at having left something which was very important to me.
I doubt I will ever stop using DMOZ as a resource, and nor will I lose interest in efforts to fulfil its social contract and maintain its reputation.

I still fervently believe that the volunteer model is the surest way of achieving this, which is why I feel so strongly about the way keen volunteers are recruited and "managed". It is very unfortunate that the ideas, concerns and observations of the volunteers themselves have so often met with disinterest or a negative reaction from DMOZ management. In addition to this (or perhaps as a result of it), a great many experienced editors have resigned, drifted away or reduced their input in the last couple of years, so it is clear that the community urgently needs renewed interest, direction and enthusiasm from those in positions of leadership and authority.
Fortunately, it appears that this might now be happening.

About a month ago, shortly after I left, there was a dramatic development within the ODP, with the surprise appointment of several new volunteer Administrators
These individuals were selected from within the community by AOL staff (in particular, the Editor-in-Chief), and they were accordingly granted wide-ranging access and permissions with which to manage the editorial community and the directory as a whole.
(Note that the list of names at the bottom of that page is several years out of date, and does not reflect the current group.)

With responsibilities and powers higher than those of all other volunteers, it is reassuring to know that these individuals are chosen not just for their obvious abilities, but with certain important expectations, and I have highlighted those which indicate to me that this might be the long-awaited turning point for the editorial community:
"Administrators are expected to:
  • Take an active, visible role in managing the project.
  • Communicate a shared philosophy and vision of the directory to internal and external parties.
  • Work with editors of all levels to ensure that quality standards are being met in terms of editing, ontology, and community management.
  • Evaluate and implement innovative proposals designed to improve the directory.
  • Encourage self-regulation at all levels, but resolve escalating contentious issues when necessary."
For example, two of their most important management roles, with direct effect on individual volunteers, are editorial "promotions" (an increase in the level of permission) and having the final say (except for staff of course) on whether or not decisions reached by those lower in the hierarchy will be implemented. 

Hence my optimism. Now that there is a larger group with the power to carry out these roles and provide the leadership and guidance necessary for a large organisation, there is the possibility for positive effects to be felt at all levels, resulting in increased confidence and motivation throughout the whole volunteer community. 
Potentially exciting times for the ODP, and as before, I wish my former colleagues and friends all the very best with this. :-)

April 28, 2008

Come in Spinner

To my considerable embarrassment, I've been an unwitting and definitely unwilling catalyst in an email spam campaign, thereby proving the veracity of all those wise-after-the-event sayings such as "curiosity killed the cat", "there's one born every minute", and "hahaha you idiot".
The title of this entry  is a distinctly Australian version of these, and ties in neatly with the foregoing post (and an earlier one) about ANZAC Day, when the otherwise illegal gambling game of Two-Up is permitted and indeed considered an integral part of remembering former soldier mates. The "spinner" is the person who flips the coins, and is usually drawn from the eager crowd surrounding a game.

I can't say I've ever actually watched a two-up game, and I certainly don't know the rules, but the derisive expression "Come in Spinner" is one guaranteed to make an Australian feel foolish.  So, my shame-faced apologies go to anyone who recently received what looks like a friendly email invitation from me. It was unintentional, unapproved, and completely impersonal, so please delete it immediately and on no account click any links. 

[Added: Not that I believe in coincidences, but this week is the 30th Anniversary of the first spam email. 30 years. How depressing.]

April 25, 2008

Lest We Forget (2)

Today is ANZAC Day, and although I have already posted about participating in this year's march on behalf of my grandmother, I want to commemorate the actual day by mentioning a memorial service I am watching live from France.

As I write this, several friends and thousands of my countrymen are in Villers-Bretonneux for the 90th Anniversary of a landmark battle of World War One.

From an article by journalist Stephanie Kennedy, published today
"The assault began at 10pm on 24 April. It was a do-or-die attack. The diggers took out the German machine guns then fought the enemy in a ferocious house-to-house confrontation. One German officer later wrote that the Australians 'were magnificent, nothing seemed to stop them. When our fire was heaviest, they just disappeared in shell holes and came up as soon as it slackened.'

By dawn on 25 April, exactly three years after the Anzacs stormed ashore at Gallipoli, the Australians had broken through the German positions and the French and Australian flags were raised over Villers-Bretonneux. It took the rest of the day and into the next to secure the town. But secure it they did and the Anzacs established a new front line, marking the end of the German offensive on the Somme. A British General called the Anzac attack 'perhaps the greatest individual feat of the war'.

But it came at a huge cost for Australia. 1200 died saving the village.

The French, though, have never forgotten the sacrifice. The Australian flag still flies over Villers-Bretonneux. A plaque outside the Town Hall tells the story of events in the town in 1918. Kangaroos feature over the entrance to the Town Hall. The main street is named Rue de Melbourne.

The children of Villers-Bretonneux are especially indebted to Australia. After the war, it was money donated from schoolchildren in Victoria that paid for the rebuilding of the village school. It was named Victoria School and a plaque recalls the diggers' sacrifice:
'Twelve hundred Australian soldiers, the fathers and brothers of these children, gave their lives in the heroic recapture of this town from the invader on 24th April 1918 and are buried near this spot. May the memory of great sacrifices in a common cause keep France and Australia together forever in bonds of friendship and mutual esteem.'

Emblazoned across a building in the main playground of Victoria School and above the schools blackboards are the words 'DO NOT FORGET AUSTRALIA'. Carvings of kangaroos, koalas and platypuses decorate the school hall. Ninety years after the historic battle, the children of Villers-Bretonneux continue to learn about the soldiers from half a world away who liberated their town from the German enemy."

Please pause, and remember them.

April 22, 2008

Down with FUD!

I had always thought this acronym stood for Fear, Unrest and Dismay, but I have just discovered that in fact it is Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.
Either way, it's a sneaky, underhand tactic involving misinformation, and it causes completely unnecessary distress.

This was brought to mind during a recent conversation with a friend ("A") who had been very upset to hear from a third party ("C") that another friend ("B") had been critical of A's work to the management of the organisation where A devoted a lot of time and effort. C implied that as a result of B's actions, future promotion of A was very unlikely.
In other words, C persuaded A that B was not the trustworthy and supportive friend A had always believed.
You probably won't be surprised to learn that in fact C presented no specific evidence to support the assertion. It wasn't needed, because A was already experiencing Uncertainty and Doubt, and C simply took advantage of that to employ classic FUD techniques.
So where does the Fear come into play? Let's go back to Wikipedia:
An appeal to fear ... is a logical fallacy in which a person attempts to create support for his or her idea by increasing fear and prejudice toward a competitor. The appeal to fear is extremely common in marketing and politics.
Of course C did not try to make A literally afraid of former friend B, but certainly when talking to me it was clear that A no longer trusted B, and the sense of failure and disillusionment had been deepened.
Remember, C did not have to provide any proof at all, because the success of FUD and similar tactics relies on exploiting existing concerns in a calculated manner.

What does the perpetrator of FUD gain?
  • In marketing or politics, the advantages of changing the direction of someone's loyalties are obvious - they will henceforth buy your products or vote for you
  • In other areas of life it can be used in a more subtle way, by gradually isolating someone from former associates and then offering them an alternative alliance. 
  • Sometimes it may achieve nothing more than intellectual satisfaction, or a sense of having influence. 
Fortunately, this cynically manipulative behaviour can be stopped very effectively, by the listener simply refusing to accept negative information that cannot be verified. Of course, this is easier to say than do, but if I can be forgiven for repeating something I wrote in a recent post about volunteer organisations,
"Making unsubstantiated claims about another person is something we see every day ... But we all need reminding that negative comments should never be based on rumour, innuendo, or mischievous misinformation. This is the basis of the famous Triple Filter Test attributed to Socrates ..."

Join the FUD Fight Today!

April 19, 2008

Lest we forget

ANZAC Day is commemorated on 25th April, but for some reason our local memorial service was today. I usually go to watch the march, but this year I decided to participate, in honour of my grandmother who served as a nurse in World War I, during the Salonika campaign where for every casualty of battle three died of malaria, influenza or other diseases.

Before she left for the war, she embroidered a frame for her official photograph, and a few years ago I had it mounted with her badges and medallion.

Sadly, she returned to Australia in very poor health and died only a few years later. I have no information about her war experiences, but her medallion indicates she worked at the 52nd British General Hospital in Kalamaria, so I expect her story was very similar to the following account of a contemporary:
"She left Melbourne aboard the RMS Mooltan, a mail steamer, along with 300 nurses bound for Salonika. The ship arrived at Suez on 19 June 1917 and the nurses travelled to Cairo via train. On 12 August 1917, Jessie embarked for Salonika aboard the Osmanich, arriving on 14 August 1917. On arrival, Jessie worked in British hospitals including the 52nd and 50th General Hospitals."

We are only a small community, but about 100 people took part in the march. At the front were World War II veterans, then veterans of other wars, serving members of the armed forces, relatives, and finally community groups such as the volunteer bush fire brigade and girl guides. People lined the streets, and more came out of the shops as we marched through the town. I felt terribly proud to be taking part.
Led by the local pipe band, we marched to the War Memorial where more people joined us for a short service including the always-emotional Last Post and the Ode to the Fallen:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

April 17, 2008

We interrupt this blog for a News Update ...

It's been a busy few weeks here, with several posts causing concern, comment, and even consternation in different quarters. I think it's time for a brief update on some of the issues raised.

1. My friend remains gravely ill, but fortunately stable. With a serious brain injury such as his, each day without deterioration is considered a step forward, and we hope it will not be too long before he is allowed to become conscious. Thank you to those readers who have taken time to pass on their good wishes here and in private. Such crises are never far away from any of us.

2. Just as distressingly, the situation in Zimbabwe (his homeland) gets worse and worse, with the latest reports indicating widespread violence against those who voted for the opposition in the recent and still unresolved elections. So terribly sad for a wonderful country whose people have tried to do everything the democratic way, only to be crushed with violence and destruction.

3. As for the Open Directory Project (DMOZ), I have heard from a great many present and past editors since I left, and there is no doubt that many of them are still very passionate about the directory and what it could be. It would certainly be a wonderful thing if all that enthusiasm could be actively encouraged and channelled to build and improve the directory, and I am sure that the new management team has a similar goal. I am sincere in wishing them all the best with that, despite the irreverent definition I copied below. (Hey, I'm Australian - poking fun at authority is a national sport!)

4. Finally, I am pleased to report that "my" medical students were very amused at seeing their gaffes on the web, and immediately began speculating who was the author of each. One student proudly pointed out that in fact he was responsible for more than one of them. I guess I'll need to be wary of "deliberate" mistakes in future, lest internet fame beckons.

April 14, 2008

Farther Along

It's not something I often admit to, but during an earlier, agricultural stage of my life I was a fan of Country and Western music.
(I blame 6 months of tractor driving on the prairies in Alberta, OK?)

Anyway, one of my favourite songs was a traditional gospel number called "Farther Along". It has been sung by many people, but the version I listened to was by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris (as "Trio").
Any reader(s) in the USA can apparently listen to a free recording here.

Two of the verses and the chorus came back to me today, as I talked with a friend about how unjust life (and people) can be, in all sorts of ways.
That can be very difficult to accept and understand. This helps a bit.
Tempted and tried, we're oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all day long
While there are others living about us
Never molested though in the wrong

When death has come and taken our loved ones
It leaves our home so lonely and drear
Then do we wonder why others prosper
Living so wicked year after year

Farther along we'll know all about it
Farther along we'll understand why
Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine
We'll understand it all, by and by

[Thank you to those who have asked about my friend. No further news as yet, but so far he's "stable".]

April 13, 2008


Two items of news today have affected me directly, and I feel rather ashamed of the self-indulgent melancholy which has preoccupied me over the last couple of weeks. There's nothing like a reminder that you are lucky to be alive to put things in perspective.

The first item concerns a deadly explosion yesterday at a mosque in Shiraz, Iran. Not unusual, sadly, in the Middle East, but this time I read the reports (eg BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera) with particular attention, because I was at that same mosque only last November, during a thankfully trouble-free tour of Iran. Throughout our 3 week visit we were certainly aware of the possibility of violence, but in fact we were much more scared of being killed on the roads. Shiraz is a beautiful city, and this mosque, as with so many we visited, filled me with wonder and admiration for the skill and artistry of its creators. I'm sure they never dreamed it would be a place of carnage.

The next piece of news to reach me this morning was even more personal: an early phone call from a friend in Queensland with those stomach-clenching words "I'm afraid I've got some bad news". Another close friend of mine was involved in a serious farm accident yesterday, was airlifted to hospital in Brisbane, and underwent extensive brain surgery last night as a result of his injuries. I'm "holding thumbs" and praying for you Philip, and for Tont.

I have been friends with them for many years, since meeting them on one of several trips to Zimbabwe, back when it was still a (relatively) normal country to visit. Now, of course, it seems perpetually in turmoil, although thankfully the recent elections have shone the world spotlight on the shocking state of affairs there.
My friends lived on their family farm at the time I was visiting, but several years ago, like most of the white farmers, they lost their land, their house, their crops, equipment and carefully bred herd of beef cattle to the government, and were obliged to leave the country almost penniless. They settled in Queensland and have worked 6-7 days a week ever since as manual labourers, trying to rebuild their lives.
Philip has cheated death before, having been shot and seriously wounded by armed burglars on the farm in Zimbabwe, so he has the physical health and mental strength to recover again, I am sure.

April 12, 2008

Light Relief

My mood has been very subdued for the last 10 days (for recent arrivals, the reason is here), so my posts have been not only astonishingly frequent, but also rather sombre and reflective. This entry will be neither of those things, in an effort to lift my own spirits as well as those of my reader(s).
I have previously posted about my interest in the use of language, and I've also published a small selection of examples I've collected. Here are some more.

This first one came to mind following the recent announcement (only in French, as yet) of new volunteer Administrators at the Open Directory Project. The following piece can be found all over the internet, but without attribution, so if anyone does know the original source I would be delighted to give credit to its irreverent, perceptive, and witty author. [**See attribution added below**.]
[Disclaimer: absolutely no disrespect is intended to my friends and erstwhile colleagues, who I'm confident would appreciate the humour as much as anyone.]
A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. This new element has been tentatively named "Administratium." Administratium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 111 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.
These 312 particles are held together by a force called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Administratium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over 4 days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of 3 years; it does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Administratium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization causes some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as "Critical Morass." You will know it when you see it.

The following quotes are from reports of a recent rural trip by some first-year medical students I tutor. I'm sure they won't mind being anonymous.
... the only time large numbers of aboriginal would conjugate in the township was during funerals.
I met two South African families who had permanently migrated to the district during my short stay.
... as people become injured or need replacing due to death, it is difficult to find local replacements ...
The town is losing more young people than they're gaining old people ...
After days and nights of excessive drinking it was not difficult for the student to figure out why she was not feeling too well.
I got a lot out of the trip in terms of bounding with fellow students.

**[Added 27 May: Many thanks to motsa, whose comment below attributes the Administratium piece to William deBuvitz in 1988. I feel relieved to acknowledge him at last, and offer belated apologies to him for what I now see is an embellished version. Perhaps understandable in view of the thousands of transcriptions, but still, I am very glad to set the record straight. :-) ]

April 11, 2008

I blog, therefore I am ... (bored)

I have often been referred to (with varying degrees of fondness/condescension/annoyance) as a "magpie", due to my attraction to anything Shiny! or New! in terms of my interests and activities, and the speed with which I become bored. To be honest, I have always seen myself more as a grown-up toddler: I frequently rush between one activity and the next, falling over now and then, and becoming instantly frustrated if I can't understand something. 

Today it occurred to me what an under-utilised resource we "toddler-type personalities" often are, in any organisation. Exasperating and exhausting? Certainly. And like all toddlers we can get into an awful lot of trouble in a very short while. But surely if our boundless enthusiasm could be channelled safely and effectively, everyone could benefit.  
Not surprisingly, this reminded me of the research I presented last week on motivating and retaining volunteers, because it is a truism of any volunteer organisation that
"10% of the people do 90% of the work"

So once again I went looking for other opinions on the subject, and almost immediately found a guide called "Managing High Achievers" which explains how to make the most of those who fall at the upper end of the performance curve:
"Actions to motivate a person with high need for achievement are:
  • Keep job tasks interesting and challenging
  • Stress concern for realistic goal setting and the value of goal achievement
  • Demonstrate an appreciation for careful planning and anticipation of obstacles
  • Provide enthusiastic and constant feedback on progress
  • Provide rewards and recognition for achievement, which the person values.

    Actions that de-motivate a person with a high need for achievement are:
  • Fail to keep score and provide feedback
  • Setting low level goals
  • Allow little opportunity for independence and initiative - keeping the person on a leash.
  • Failing to delegate effectively for a high achiever."
  • It is simply common sense to make the most of what those 10% (the "high achievers") can offer as volunteers, and to try and avoid the demotivating factors listed above.
    For example, during my years as a volunteer in the Open Directory Project, I was fortunate to be able to indulge my toddler tendencies by gradually gaining permissions to edit anywhere in the directory, and that freedom and variety is something that appeals to many editors, I know. So the "motivating actions" quoted above are more than just theoretical, and it's a shame they are not more widely applied.

    April 09, 2008

    Pastures new

    Since leaving the Open Directory Project (as documented in the previous two posts) I have been looking around for different places to volunteer, and of course there is no shortage of opportunities.
    One friend of mine is a district leader in Girl Guides Australia, so she was delighted to hear I suddenly had a lot more free time, but leading groups of teenage girls in singing or abseiling is not really my cup of tea. Incidentally, when I mentioned the research I referenced earlier concerning retention of volunteers, my friend readily agreed that this was definitely a big problem in her organisation, saying that in fact she devoted a lot of her time to ensuring that troop leaders did not take on too many responsibilities at once, and that they continued to have fun. (Clearly I should have spoken to her ages ago!)

    Another 2 friends are voluntary tutors in a free adult literacy programme with the clever name of "Read Write Now!" (Their website is currently under construction, but this government page outlines the programme.)
    This sounded much more my sort of thing than did girl guiding, so I immediately wrote away for an application form. Having reviewed many thousands of applications from prospective volunteer ODP editors, I chuckled at the irony of the shoe now being on the other foot.
    Once your application form is received you will be contacted by a co-ordinator in your region, who is also a volunteer, to arrange an interview. At the interview the co-ordinator will discuss with you your interests and abilities and the program's expectations of tutors. If both you and the co-ordinator decide that Read Write Now! is the right volunteering organisation for you, you will be invited to take part in a stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable training program.

    This highly-personalised selection process obviously requires considerable commitment from the co-ordinator, but in a small organisation it probably also increases the chance that the new volunteer will contribute effectively. Thinking back to the ODP (never far from my thoughts at the moment), I found it interesting to speculate on the advantages of such an approach, if the sheer number of applicants did not make it completely impracticable.

    April 04, 2008

    A wandering mind (almost-random thoughts from an aging brain)

    In my last blog entry (imagine, two in one week!) I referred to my years as an editor in the Open Directory Project. Over that time many people have asked me what I found so absorbing about it, and it's difficult to answer that without rambling on a bit. So I've learned to reply with a simple explanation and then see if they want to know more. Depending on where I think their interest lies, I might mention the immense variety of previously unknown subjects about which one can learn while editing. For those who value orderliness, there is an undeniable appeal in categorising websites so that they can easily be found by web surfers. For gregarious types, there is the opportunity to be part of a huge worldwide community.
    For me, and fortunately for many others as well, one of the most satisfying roles is answering questions from newer editors (called "newbies") and helping them understand the often confusing way such a large and complicated structure works.

    I can see now that my comments in the last entry could be ambiguous for those unaware of my own record in the directory, so I'll provide a little further explanation. I have always been a strong advocate of a "mentoring" system where newbies receive personalised assistance while they settle in and find their feet, and I have frequently expressed the hope that more experienced editors would take on this rewarding and supportive role.
    But this was the first time I had actually looked for evidence that it is not just a friendly way to welcome people, but in fact essential to the ongoing health of any volunteer organisation. So on finding that proof I couldn't resist posting about it, even though I am no longer doing it myself. Which brings me to my third "random" thought.

    Naturally, people have wondered why I resigned. Quite simply, I realised I was spending far too much of my time on just one of the activities I enjoy, and I felt I needed to regain some balance. It is too easy to over-commit yourself to something you feel passionate about, and by the time I left I was spending several hours each day answering questions from editors and helping them understand the directory's policies and guidelines. Time-consuming, certainly, but necessary for precisely the reasons already stated.

    The trouble is that I have always had difficulty with moderation, being an all-or-nothing person at everything I do, so I left because I finally realised I was leaving too many other things undone in favour of the ODP. Fortunately, there are many wonderful editors who are equally passionate about editor retention, and I have no doubt that all "my" newbies have been gathered under someone else's wing by now. I wish them, and their mentors, all the very best.

    Incidentally, one of the other ways I spend my time is in slowly completing a post-graduate course in Forensic Medicine (by distance learning through Monash University in Melbourne). Last year's subject was "Medical Evidence", covering such topics as "hearsay evidence" and "burden of proof", both very important concepts in relation to serious accusations, of course. Making unsubstantiated claims about another person is something we see every day, and it sells a lot of magazines! But we all need reminding that negative comments should never be based on rumour, innuendo, or mischievous misinformation. This is the basis of the famous Triple Filter Test attributed to Socrates, a copy of which was sent out this week to all members of the Volunteer Bushfire Brigade to which I belong.

    April 03, 2008

    Volunteers are people too. (Or, "Some of my best friends are volunteers")

    Yesterday I made the huge decision to resign from the Open Directory Project where I have volunteered thousands of hours of my leisure time over the last 4 and a half years. It was part of my daily life, and the people I met from all over the world made it an intense and enriching experience. I would encourage anyone to give it a go, so here's a more detailed guide to becoming an editor.

    In fact I belong to several volunteer community organisations, all of which struggle to attract and keep active members, just like the ODP does. So as I suddenly have lots of free time I decided to check what research had been done into volunteer retention.

    The most-quoted study was undertaken in 1998 by the UPS Foundation. The report itself does not seem to be available online, but this site has a succinct summary:
    In a national study on volunteerism done by the UPS Foundation, Manage My Time Better and I’ll Give You More, the second most frequently cited reason for ending volunteer involvement - following conflicting personal reasons - was the “Poor management of volunteers”.

    40% of these volunteers stopped volunteering for an agency at some time because of one or more poor volunteer management practices. Volunteers felt that the organization was poorly managed, their time was not well spent, the experience was not a good use of their talents, and tasks were not clearly defined. 9% said they were never thanked.
    Following that study, UPS went on to publish a guide to the effective management of volunteer resources.

    Extensive research was carried out by The Urban Institute in 2003, involving 3,000 charities in the USA. This report is available online, as a PDF download entitled "Volunteer Management Practices and Retention of Volunteers".
    Although they studied only one type of organisation, the findings have a more general application, and I'm sure the following excerpts will ring true for any volunteer.
    Some Practices Tied to Greater Retention of Volunteers, Some Not.
    Charities interested in increasing retention of volunteers should invest in recognizing volunteers, providing training ... and screening volunteers and matching them to organizational tasks. These practices all center on enriching the volunteer experience. Management practices that focus more on the needs of the organization, such as documentation of volunteer numbers and hours, are unrelated to retention of volunteers, even though they help the program to realize other benefits.

    Charities Can Do Others Things as Well to Maximize Volunteer Retention.
    Volunteer management practices are only part of the picture. In addition to adopting certain management practices, charities can provide a culture that is welcoming to volunteers, allocate sufficient resources to support them, and enlist volunteers in recruiting other volunteers. All of these practices help charities to achieve higher rates of retention

    My summary
    Look after the volunteers and respect them, and they will stay.
    Ignore them or discount them and they will leave.

    Seems obvious, really. ;-)

    [Added: An unfortunate reaction to the above research findings necessitated further explanation of them in my subsequent post.]


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