Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska


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Published by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.


A survey was sent to clean-up volunteers 17 months after they helped with debris removal from an area in Nebraska devastated by tornadoes. The survey asked about their experiences and perceptions related to that volunteer work. The 622 respondents offered suggestions to enhance the processes used to deploy and supervise disaster clean-up volunteers. These respondents were generally older and more educated than the demographics of the area would suggest. They reported being motivated to volunteer primarily for altruistic reasons and generally had positive experiences. Those volunteers who reported experiencing some distress as a result of their disaster volunteer experience were more likely to report experiencing personal growth than those who experienced no distress. The volunteers that reported personal growth were more likely to report being satisfied with their disaster volunteer experience. Specific recommendations for improving the volunteer experience, enhancing recruitment, and sustaining future clean up efforts are offered at the end of this report.

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