Challenge and/or oppurtunity? – recommending literature for episodic volunteer recruitment, employment, and retention

Anna Mária Bartal



The volunteer management experience in Hungary indicates that the "reflexive" style of volunteering is becoming more and more prominent. Statistical data shows that in the Hungarian volunteer sector, there is a higher proportion of people who volunteer on an ad hoc basis – once or twice a year or for shorter periods of time – or for projects than those who volunteer on a regular and continuous basis. The term 'episodic volunteering' has been used in the international literature for almost thirty years to describe an one-time activity, usually lasting a few hours, which involves either a simple or a very specific task requiring no specific training. In Hungary, the concept of episodic volunteering that allows for a differentiated approach has not yet gained ground either in volunteering practice or in the literature. Consequently, our methodological paper has two aims. In the first part of the paper, we present the meaning and types of episodic volunteering with the aim of promoting the use of the concept and the interpretation of its types in the professional and academic discourse in Hungary. In the second part, we present international recommendations from the literature related to the development of the management work of organisations (also) employing episodic volunteers in the field of recruiting, coordinating, motivating, recognising, and measuring the satisfaction level of volunteers. We wish to commend some of the findings of the study to domestic practitioners and researchers.

Keywords: episodic volunteering, temporary, occasional and provisional episodic volunteering, volunteer management