The management of volunteers: Recent experience with the American Red Cross in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Kirsten Levy, MBA

Abstract


Rather than simply watch horrific events unfold, many citizens do everything in their power—immediately— to help; they seek outlets for their energy. Organizations that use citizen assistance, while grateful, often find the outpouring difficult to manage. This article describes a positive experience with the American Red Cross (ARC) as a citizen-turned-volunteer. It notes observations about the organization’s management of volunteers during a two-week deployment at regional headquarters in late November 2005 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where disaster relief for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, combined into one disaster relief effort, was scaling down. The volunteer experience was positive because ARC was well organized and catered to expectations. ARC proved to be the natural choice for a volunteer outlet. The ARC can be considered a giant conduit for training, turning bystanders into volunteers and deploying them quickly to disaster relief in the field at little expense.

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.2006.0033

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