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Journal ArticleDOI

Understanding the Australian Environmental Volunteering Market: A Basis for Behavioural Change and a Sustainable Future:

01 Nov 2009-Australasian Marketing Journal (amj) (Elsevier)-Vol. 17, Iss: 4, pp 192-203

AbstractThe world is facing an environmental crisis. Long-term environmental sustainability requires social change: individuals need to take personal responsibility for the environment and change their beh...

Topics: Sustainability (60%), Social change (54%), Social marketing (52%)

Summary (2 min read)

Introduction

  • The world is facing an environmental crisis.
  • Environmental volunteering organisations play a key role in this process: they create opportunities for individuals to improve their natural environment, they facilitate behavioural change.
  • Finally, the fact that two sources of heterogeneity are accounted for requires (3) the use of an innovative methodological framework, referred to as Perceptions-Based Market Segmentation (PBMS, Buchta, Dolnicar and Reutterer, 2000; Mazanec and Strasser, 2000).

2.1 Positioning

  • There have, however, been a limited number of marketing studies that provide a somewhat generalised picture of the environment in which volunteering organisations are operating.
  • A voluminous amount of work has been done in the areas of branding, image and positioning in the commercial sector in recent decades (Aaker, 1997).
  • The distribution of volunteering organisations across these generic perceptual positions is not equal, indicating the existence of distinct volunteering organisation brand images H3: Preference levels, past volunteering behaviour, and behavioural intentions differ for different generic perceptual positions According to Keller (1993): “brand image is defined […] as perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in memory”.
  • Generic perceptual positions fit Keller’s definition of images, except that they are not initially tied to one brand only.
  • They are generic, and therefore associated with multiple brands.

2.2 Competition

  • Considerable research has gone into the competitive environment of the commercial sector.
  • Studies have included generic investigations into the phenomenon of competition (Porter, 1980) and generic categorisation of types of competitive environments (Putsis and Dhar, 1998).
  • In recent times, researchers have used market simulations to evaluate and recommend optimal strategies for organisations operating in markets with varying levels of competition (Dolnicar, Freitag and Randle, 2005).
  • None of these approaches, however, have been applied to investigations of the volunteering market.
  • Based on this insight and considering the known market dynamics of the commercial sector as communicated through leading marketing journals (Gatignon, Robertson and Fein, 1997; McAfee and McMillan, 1996), it is reasonable to assume that similar competitive pressures do exist in the volunteering market to some extent.

2.3 Segmentation

  • Market segmentation is a well-known and commonly used concept in strategic marketing that can account for heterogeneity among consumers.
  • For the most part this has taken the form of a priori segmentation whereby the researcher assumes to know the variable most appropriate for grouping homogenous subsets of consumers, for example age, sex, income and so on.
  • It is this approach that the authors hypothesise may represent a more effective base for segmenting the volunteering market.
  • In Step 1 of PBMS analysis, respondents’ answer patterns are compressed through a partitioning algorithm.
  • The frequency with which each of the objects was assigned to each generic position does not on its own provide insight into perceptual competition because it is possible that different people contribute to different objects being located at the same position.

4.1 Methodology

  • The researchers designed a questionnaire following an exploratory study that identified the key volunteering organisations in the marketplace and those attributes used by individuals to describe volunteering organisations.
  • Respondents were invited to complete a 30-minute self-completion questionnaire that was available online for four weeks, leading to a sample of 1,415 respondents.
  • The questionnaire included a list of 18 randomly ordered attributes presented eight times – once for each organisation included in the study.
  • In addition, respondents were asked to indicate which of the eight volunteering organisations they most preferred.
  • To measure behavioural intention, respondents indicated on a Juster scale (Juster, 1966) their intentions to volunteer in the next three months.

4.2 Measures and Data

  • Table 1 illustrates the three-way data structure of the collected data set for a subset of two organisations and three attributes.
  • Note that this differs from a standard two-way 12 data set in that every respondent is included in the data set eight times, once for each of the organisations measured.
  • If all volunteering organisations were perceived as having the same combination of image attributes, percentage values for every image belief would either be 100 (all people assigning a particular image belief to all organisations), or zero (nobody assigning a particular image belief to any of the organisations).
  • That is, it does not show whether different individuals have different image perceptions of the same volunteering organisation.
  • Similarly, 32 percent of the sample thought that the image belief “supports local community” applied to Bushcare, while 68 percent did not.

4.3 Results and Discussion

  • Answer pattern compression, also known as 4.3.1 Step 1.
  • Generic perceptual position #2 contains 1,394 perceptions (12% of the data) and rates higher than average on a number of attributes.
  • Firstly, generic perceptual positions of volunteering organisations differ in their level of preference.
  • Insight in terms of perceptual competition lies not in the number of times organisations are assigned to the same position, but how many times one individual respondent assigns the same attributes to two or more organisations.

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University of Wollongong University of Wollongong
Research Online Research Online
Faculty of Commerce - Papers (Archive) Faculty of Business and Law
1-1-2009
Understanding the Australian environmental volunteering market: A basis Understanding the Australian environmental volunteering market: A basis
for behavioural change and a sustainable future for behavioural change and a sustainable future
Melanie J. Randle
University of Wollongong
, mrandle@uow.edu.au
Sara Dolnicar
University of Wollongong
, s.dolnicar@uq.edu.au
Follow this and additional works at: https://ro.uow.edu.au/commpapers
Part of the Business Commons, and the Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons
Recommended Citation Recommended Citation
Randle, Melanie J. and Dolnicar, Sara: Understanding the Australian environmental volunteering market: A
basis for behavioural change and a sustainable future 2009, 192-203.
https://ro.uow.edu.au/commpapers/654
Research Online is the open access institutional repository for the University of Wollongong. For further information
contact the UOW Library: research-pubs@uow.edu.au

Understanding the Australian environmental volunteering market: A basis for Understanding the Australian environmental volunteering market: A basis for
behavioural change and a sustainable future behavioural change and a sustainable future
Abstract Abstract
The world is facing an environmental crisis. Long-term environmental sustainability requires social
change: individuals need to take personal responsibility for the environment and change their behaviour.
Environmental volunteering organisations play a key role in this process: they create opportunities for
individuals to improve their natural environment, they facilitate behavioural change. Successful facilitation
of behavioural change requires in-depth understanding of the environmental volunteering market to
identify those individuals most likely to volunteer, compete successfully and create targeted, motivating
marketing campaigns. The present study (1) assesses the usefulness of a novel method (PBMS) to
explore volunteering markets, and (2) provides insight into the Australian environmental volunteering
market structure. Results indicate PBMS analysis provides unique insights into the volunteering market
with respect to image, competition and suitable market segments. The environmental volunteering
organisation considered in this study, Bushcare, is perceived as "outdoorsy", "Aussie" and "supporting
local community" and competes primarily with Surf Life Saving and the Rural Fire Service for volunteers
Keywords Keywords
market, understanding, basis, behavioural, sustainable, volunteering, australian, change, future
Disciplines Disciplines
Business | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Publication Details Publication Details
Randle, M. J. & Dolnicar, S. (2009). Understanding the Australian volunteering market: A basis for
behavioural change and a sustainable future. Australasian Marketing Journal, 17 (4), 192-203.
This journal article is available at Research Online: https://ro.uow.edu.au/commpapers/654

Understanding the Australian Environmental Volunteering Market – A Basis for
Behavioural Change and a Sustainable Future
Key words: social marketing, environmental volunteering, segmentation, image,
competition, market structure analysis
Acknowledgements: This research is supported by the Australian Research Council
through the Linkage Grant Scheme (LP0453682) and our industry partner, Bushcare
Wollongong, a division of Wollongong City Council. We would particularly like to
thank Paul Formosa, Natural Areas Coordinator for Wollongong City Council, for his
support and assistance with this project.

2
ABSTRACT
The world is facing an environmental crisis. Long-term environmental sustainability
requires social change: individuals need to take personal responsibility for the
environment and change their behaviour. Environmental volunteering organisations
play a key role in this process: they create opportunities for individuals to improve
their natural environment, they facilitate behavioural change. Successful facilitation
of behavioural change requires in-depth understanding of the environmental
volunteering market to identify those individuals most likely to volunteer, compete
successfully and create targeted, motivating marketing campaigns.
The present study (1) assesses the usefulness of a novel method (PBMS) to explore
volunteering markets, and (2) provides insight into the Australian environmental
volunteering market structure. Results indicate PBMS analysis provides unique
insights into the volunteering market with respect to image, competition and suitable
market segments. The environmental volunteering organisation considered in this
study, Bushcare, is perceived as “outdoorsy”, “Aussie” and “supporting local
community” and competes primarily with Surf Life Saving and the Rural Fire Service
for volunteers.

3
“My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the
climate crisis. It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have
everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to
act, that's a renewable resource. Let's renew it.”
Former US Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore’s
Academy Award Acceptance Speech
25 February 2007
1. INTRODUCTION
The current global environmental crisis is arguably unmatched in terms of its potential
to affect the lives of individuals and the way in which societies as a whole operate.
Regardless of the amount of resources dedicated to climate change and its
catastrophic effect on the natural environment, ultimately social change will be the
key to developing sustainable solutions to the problem. Social change, in the form of
individuals’ “will to act”, involves people taking personal responsibility for their role.
Being part of the solution and being willing to get involved in activities that support it
is vital. One example of such individual activity is giving one’s time, or volunteering,
for an environmental cause.
The value of volunteering worldwide has grown exponentially in recent decades. In
the United States alone, 83.9 million adults volunteer each year. This is the equivalent
of over 9 million full-time employees offering their time, at a value of US$239 billion
(Independent Sector, 2001). In the UK 23 million people volunteer each year, which
is the equivalent of 180,000 full-time workers to the value of 44 billion per annum
(European Volunteer Centre, 2006). In Australia, the monetary value of volunteering
is estimated to be in the tens of billions of Australian dollars each year with a total of
836 million hours being contributed by 6.3 million individuals annually (Volunteering
Australia, 2006).
However, despite the significant contribution of volunteers, there is a growing need
for unpaid workers in order to achieve the social and environmental changes required
to ensure the long-term sustainability. This is particularly the case for environmental

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Frequently Asked Questions (1)
Q1. What are the future works mentioned in the paper "Understanding the australian environmental volunteering market: a basis for behavioural change and a sustainable future" ?

Future research could add further insight into the competitive structure of volunteering markets by extending this research to other international markets, and to include other types of volunteering organisations.