Investigating The Volunteer Experience
Western Australia, 2011
The Cat Haven is Western Australia’s premier cat welfare shelter, providing a wide range of services in the process of “rescuing, re-homing and raising awareness for cats in WA”. Established in 1961, the operational complexity of the Cat Haven parallels that of many commercial service organizations, with the added pressure of generating essential income from grants applications, fund-raising initiatives and donations. Volunteer contribution is an important resource for ‘not-for-profit’ organizations and retention of trained members of the public is am important aspect of their work.
Animal Shelter Study
Regardless of evidence highlighting the social and personal benefits of contributing unpaid time and skill, like most not-for-profit associations the Cat Haven experiences variations in the level of volunteer support. Kwokka assisted through exploring initiatives to increase volunteer retention and improve the volunteer experience.
Group meetings, survey material and field observation revealed ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ areas of volunteer activity. Primary findings identified aspects of percieved personal value in different activities, issues requiring more consistency of the experience, and sensitive zones where volunteers – and those who foster cats and kittens - interface with others both on and off the Cat Haven site (staff, the public, educational establishments, veterinarians, councils).