✴︎ Available only with purchase from publisher
“This article presents a mixed-methods, multicase study and comparison of volunteer programs in U.S. national parks that have evolved, in response to growth and fiscal pressures, to be co-managed by national park staff and their non-profit support partners. Findings detail why and how the expanded partnerships were formed; how they operate; challenges they face; ways in which they adhere to, stretch, and depart from theories of non-profit management, collaboration, and program institutionalization; and the significant — even exponential — volunteer program growth that resulted in each case.
These non-profit-public volunteer program partnerships — at Acadia, Arches and Canyonlands, Cuyahoga Valley, Golden Gate, the National Mall, and Yosemite national park sites — employ many standard forms of interorganizational relations, even though in these cases the non-profits give money to the government organization instead of the reverse. Their volunteer program and management structures also share similar elements because of coercive, normative, and mimetic pressures. At the same time, each volunteer program partnership is a distinct blend of collaboration and management practices because of the unique natural features, climate, needs, adjacent populations, and personalities of leaders at each site. The cases employ innovative strategies to substantially increase the number of staff who lead volunteer programs. Recommendations are offered for non-profit management research and practice, and findings are instructive for organizations that utilize volunteers either as a single entity or as part of a collaboration.”