Turnover following a crisis in Israel's nonprofits

Rita S. Mano, Stefanos K. Giannikis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Involvement is a basic element in successful crisis management. Crisis solutions cannot be advanced when notions of "politics of self actualization" among volunteers and paid staff prevail because they generate turnover; the study seeks to: distinguish between nonprofits that have or have not experienced crisis; control their differences in organizational structure; measure the level of involvement of active - paid and volunteer - members; and assess differences in turnover behavior between paid staff and volunteers separately for nonprofits that experienced and those which did not - a crisis. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: The questionnaires were distributed in 164 social organizations which operate in Israel. It was distributed to the employees at their workplace, and they were asked to fill it out completely. Also, the respondents were assured that the questionnaire was intended for research purposes only and that it would be anonymous. A total of 164 subjects participated in the research: 73 men (who are 45.3 percent of the sample population) and 87 women (who are 56.4 percent of the sample). Average age was 45.91. Questionnaires were distributed to managers at different levels in the organization. Most of the respondents (51.2 percent) were chief executive managers. A total of 38.4 percent experienced organizational crisis and 74 (45.1 percent) did not. In the organizations which experienced organizational crisis, the number of paid employees was about 8 percent of all of the active members in the organization. By contrast, in the organizations which did not experience the crisis, the proportion of paid employees was 20 percent of all of the active members. Findings: In the organizations which did not experience a crisis, the average number of the paid employees (24.2) is higher than in the organizations which did experience (20.32); there are no significant differences in the turnover level of the volunteers or their involvement despite the fact that their involvement is higher in organizations which experienced a crisis; and the turnover model, based on the predictors of age, size, involvement and organizational crisis for paid employees, is stronger (R2=0.29) than the same model predicting turnover among volunteers (R2=0.16). Research limitations/implications: First, the size of the sample is relatively small (N=168). Second, the time lapse between the occurrence of crisis and the self-reports may cause history related bias. The ideas of the present study should be continued using a quantitative as well as qualitative methodology. Practical implications: Human resources managers will become aware of the adversities related to the excess mobilization of volunteers following the occurrence of a crisis caused by budget cuts, while putting more efforts into supporting paid staff whose involvement is high and their odds of leaving the organization low. Originality/value: The study provides a practical view of the actual contribution of the volunteers in nonprofit organizations and contributes to a skeptical approach to the total reliance of nonprofit organizations at the expense of hiring paid employees - during and following crisis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)745-762
Number of pages18
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013


  • Crisis
  • Involvement
  • Nonprofits
  • Quantitative
  • Turnover
  • Volunteers

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Turnover following a crisis in Israel's nonprofits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this