Title

Increasing the Numbers: A Training Strategy to Improve Volunteer Participation

Date of Degree

12-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Noah Kasraie

Advisor

Daniel Dominguez

Advisor

Tracie Edmond

Advisor

Theresa Tiggeman

Abstract

the purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the opinions of VITA volunteers in various cities concerning the current method of training, its usefulness and effectiveness, their views towards a need for alternative online tax law training method of instruction, and their intent to return.

While the literature acknowledges that the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program continues to be one of the most effective government assistance programs for low to moderate income taxpayers, the demands for this aid continues to grow at an astounding rate. It is estimated that the demand reaches over four million taxpayers (IRS, 2010) and the number of available volunteers nears 100,000 (2010). As the desire from taxpayers to participate in this program has increased, there exists a critical need to recruit and maintain a greater number of highly trained and experienced volunteers. It is especially important to be more receptive to their needs. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the opinions of VITA volunteers in various cities concerning the current method of training, its usefulness and effectiveness, their views towards a need for alternative online tax law training method of instruction, and their intent to return. The study involved a survey instrument conducted online which was sent to 1040 participants, of which 415 volunteers participated in this research. Demographic analysis indicated that most respondents were female, Hispanic, with an age range of 20-29 with less than five years of service with VITA. Most of these respondents were tax preparers with a background in accounting and generally were not students. From this data, descriptive statistics were used. Cross tabulations were calculated for some demographic values and various components the study. Inferential statistics was used to evaluate the effects among variables and the research questions. Kruskal Wallis H tests were conducted for this research. The results of the study indicated that most volunteers are satisfied with the current method of training. Most volunteers feel that the current training is useful; however, the results indicated that it is not always effective. Since most volunteers certify at a basic level, they are more likely to occur situations outside of their level of expertise. However, their view towards at alternative tax law training method of instruction is quite favorable. More importantly, most volunteers indicated that there is a strong likelihood of returning to volunteer in the future.

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