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Determinants of Volunteerism:

A Cross-Disciplinary Review
and Research Agenda

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Walter Wymer
Glen Riecken
Ugur Yavas

INTRODUCTION
The Nonprofit Sector
The nonprofit sector of the economy fulfills important social
functions that would otherwise have to be performed by the government, funded through increased individual and business taxation, or
not performed at all. Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in the U.S.
number in the thousands and their missions are very diverse, ranging from AIDS volunteer groups to zoological associations. Many
NPOs provide services to groups who cannot afford to pay for
them. These NPOs, therefore, must rely on government grants,
charitable contributions, and volunteers to operate. Charitable giving in the U.S. is reported to be about $123 billion (File, Prince, and
Cermak 1994). In the U.S., about 80 million adults reported some
type of volunteer activity during 1993 with accumulated volunteering estimated as equivalent to 10 million full-time jobs. Valued at a
minimum rate, volunteers, were they paid, would have earned about
$150 billion, or five percent of GNP (Drucker 1989).
Walter Wymer is affiliated with the Indiana University.
Glen Riecken and Ugur Yavas are affiliated with East Tennessee State University.
Address correspondence to: Dr. Glen Riecken, Box 70625, East Tennessee
State University, Johnson City, TN 37614.
Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing, Vol. 4(4) 1996
E 1996 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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On both individual and organizational levels, volunteerism is


important to quality of life and the successful attainment of the
goals of nonprofit organizations depend on volunteers (Unger
1991). Not surprisingly, informed observers of the volunteering
scene predict a sharp rise in the number of volunteers needed by
NPOs. However, a number of factors, perhaps the most important of
which is dwindling discretionary time, pose threats to the ability of
NPOs to attract volunteers. As more women enter the workforce
and the number of dual career families increase, discretionary time
available for volunteering is curtailed. The baby boomlet of the
1980s further erodes discretionary time for parents. Formation of
single parent households and delayed retirements also shrink the
volunteer pool. Additionally, growing emphasis on pursuit of hedonistic leisure diminishes the time that adults might otherwise allocate to volunteerism.
Compounding the waning popular interest in becoming volunteers is the high turnover among current volunteers. Today, volunteer agencies with meager resources must compete with each other
for the available pool of volunteers.
A greater understanding of volunteer participation is important
for allowing nonprofit marketers to perform their marketing activities more effectively. Previous research concentrated on finding
demographic correlates that distinguished volunteers from non-volunteers (Schram and Dunsing 1981; Yavas and Riecken 1985;
Schlegelmilch and Tynan 1989; Yavas, Riecken, and Babakus
1993). While nonprofit marketers and managers may be in a somewhat better position to identify potential volunteers as a result of
previous research, NPOs still need to know what factors influence
peoples volunteer participation. Such knowledge could benefit
nonprofit managers in structuring their recruitment, selection, placement, training, motivation, and retention efforts.
Purpose
With this in mind, the purpose of this paper is to integrate existing research on volunteerism gathered from various disciplines into
a parsimonious framework. In addition, a future research agenda is
developed.
This review covers previous work on the determinants of volun-

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Wymer, Riecken, and Yavas

tary participation which is distinct from the widespread demographic


research on volunteers. Demographic findings will not be emphasized here for two reasons. First, regular national surveys by the
Independent Sector, the Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Labor
Statistics have consistently found that volunteers are overrepresented by white, middle class, well educated, middle-aged adults in
families with at least one child (Gerard 1985). This information is
readily available (INDEPENDENT SECTOR 1988, 1992, 1994).
While demographic data continues to be a part of most studies,
findings remain generally consistent across studies (Berger 1991;
Smith 1994).
Second, the interest in this review is on the determinants of
voluntary participation. The research community is becoming increasingly interested in obtaining knowledge about causal factors of
participation, not demographic correlates. Therefore, the interest on
voluntary participation is most concerned with finding variables or
categories of variables that suggest a causal relationship with participation. Demographic findings will be discussed in general terms
under the rubric of the efficacy factor presented later in this review.
The organization of this review will attempt to include the totality of the volunteer participatory experience within a parsimonious
and meaningful framework as shown in Figure 1. First, person-related variables will be presented. This section will present findings
that pertain to the individual volunteer in terms of personality, values, and attitudes. Second, social variables will be presented. This
section reviews findings that pertain to social influences on the
volunteer. Third, findings related to efficacy will be presented.
Fourth, findings on contextual-related variables will be covered.
This section discusses findings pertaining to environmental forces
outside the volunteer and the volunteers social institutions.
PERSON-RELATED VARIABLES
Personality
Partially owing to a sociological perspective in most previous
research (Smith 1994), not much is known about the personality
characteristics of volunteers (Miller 1985; Lafer 1989; Omoto and
Snyder 1993).

JOURNAL OF NONPROFIT & PUBLIC SECTOR MARKETING


FIGURE 1. Determinants of Volunteerism

Person
S Personality
S Values

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S Attitudes

Social Interactions
S Previous
S Current
S Anticipated
Decision
to
Volunteer
Efficacy
S Skill utilization
S Skill development

Contextual
S Time
S Money
S Psychological

Wymer, Riecken, and Yavas

A review of personality characteristics of mental health workers


by Allen and Rushton (1983) found that volunteers tended to be
characterized by empathy, morality, and emotional stability. Generally, studies using personality variables to discriminate volunteers
from non-volunteers have largely been unsuccessful (Hobfoll 1980;
Yavas, Riecken, and Parameswaran 1981; Heidrich 1988).

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Values
Values, compared with attitudes, offer promise in understanding
voluntary participation because: (1) there are fewer values, (2) values determine attitudes, (3) values have a motivational component,
and (4) value changes are more enduring and affect behavior more
than attitude changes (Rokeach 1973; Williams 1979).
Values has proven to be a good discriminator of volunteers and
non-volunteers (Manzer 1974; Heidrich 1988). Volunteers tend to
place more importance on prosocial values (Killeen and McCarrey
1986; McClintock and Allison 1989). For example, Hobfoll (1980)
found that volunteers were significantly discriminated by social
responsibility. Mahoney and Pechura (1980) compared responses of
the Rokeach Value Survey (RVS) between telephone hotline volunteers and a control group and found that twelve values discriminated the two groups. Williams (1987) also used the RVS to measure values. In his study of volunteers working with people with
mental retardation, Williams found that values were able to differentiate volunteers from the general public. Other studies have also
found values to be good discriminators of volunteers with non-volunteers (Hougland and Christenson 1982; Williams and Ortega
1986).
Previous research has consistently reported that volunteers want
to help others (INDEPENDENT SECTOR 1988, 1992). This research indicates that helping others provides prosocial value. These
findings have been controversial, as academicians argue whether
volunteers are demonstrating pure altruism (Gerard 1985) or are
acting from only self-interest (Titmus 1971; Pinker 1979; Smith
1981). Agreement for a moderate position on this discussion is
centering on perceiving volunteers as demonstrating both altruistic
and egoistic behaviors (Wiehe and Isenhour 1977; Frisch and Gerrard 1981; King 1984; Steiner 1984; Van Til 1985; Cnaan and

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Goldberg-Glen 1991). For example, some volunteers seem driven


by a sense of altruism such as helping the terminally ill or assisting
indigents who may be humiliated and resentful rather than grateful
(Rubin and Thorelli 1984, Lafer 1989). However, volunteers who
want to help others also want volunteering to provide them with a
rewarding experience. For instance, Cnaan and Goldberg-Glen
(1991) compared 258 volunteer and 104 non-volunteer responses
on 28 motivation items from previous studies and concluded that
volunteers act from a combination of motives that can be described
overall as a rewarding experience.
Previous research on volunteer motivations consistently finds
that people who volunteer do so as a means of manifesting stronglyheld beliefs. In a national survey of AIDS volunteers, attitude measures were aggregated to a higher level of abstraction to determine
what functions attitudes served for the volunteer (Omoto and Snyder
1990, 1993). The strongest function was interpreted to be value
expressive. The respondents felt that volunteering allowed them to
act upon their underlying values, to be their true selves (Snyder and
Debono 1987). Okun and Eisenberg (1992) used a similar methodology to study the motives of 262 senior volunteers. After factor
analyzing 13 scale items into three factors, they interpreted one of
the three as value expressive.
Participating in a voluntary agency provides an individual with a
means of expressing important values as well as a means of reinforcing those values (Hougland and Christenson 1982). However,
the measurement of values has been inconsistent. Some studies
relied on measures of social responsibility (Hobfoll 1980; Omoto
and Snyder 1993), personal value systems (Mahoney and Pechura
1980; Williams 1987), moral responsibility (Waldron, Baron, Freese,
and Sabrini 1988; Okun 1994), and civic duty (Cook 1984; Florin,
Jones, and Wanderson 1986).
Since each person has a value system, what distinguishes individuals is the relative importance placed on specific values. For
example, Williams (1987) examined the values of student volunteers and non-volunteers and discovered the importance students
placed on certain values in their personal lives was the best predictor of volunteer interest.
The highest ranked values within an individuals value system

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Wymer, Riecken, and Yavas

will have the greatest influence on attitudes and actions. This procedural ranking of values within a value system explains why people
who agree that certain values are good behave in quite different
manners--behavior is most consistent with the most important values. Volunteers and non-volunteers alike would probably agree that
helping others is a good idea. However, volunteers would probably
rank helping others higher than non-volunteers.
Moral-Civic Duty. Volunteers frequently report a sense of moral
responsibility or a sense of duty as a motive (Gerard 1985; Bequette
1990). In one study of local government volunteers in an eight town
area of New Hampshire, the most important reason given for volunteering was a sense of public or civic duty (Luloff, Chittenden,
Weeks, and Brushett 1984). Similarly, Widmer (1985) found that
board members reported it was their civic duty to volunteer. Other
studies have reported findings that volunteers feel a moral obligation or a sense of duty to participate (Cook 1984; Florin, Jones, and
Wandersman 1986; Friedman, Florin, Wandersman, and Meier
1988; Okun 1994).
Religious Beliefs. Opportunities to express religious beliefs and
values are provided through many volunteer roles (Wood and Hougland 1990). In a national survey of charitable giving and volunteering, the third highest ranked motive was expressing religious
beliefs or responding to a moral obligation based on religious beliefs (Hodgkinson 1990; Hodgkinson and Weitzman 1990). Periodic national surveys of U.S. giving and volunteering continually
report a relationship between religious involvement and volunteering (INDEPENDENT SECTOR 1990, 1992). The 1981 European
Values Survey conducted by Gallup using a British sample reported
a similarly important relationship between religious commitment
and volunteering (Gerard 1985).
A longitudinal study by Wineburg (1994) reported that religious
congregations were intensifying their involvement in social services in response to declining government support. Among voluntary action researchers, there is a general consensus that an important relationship exists between religious beliefs and voluntary
participation (Berger 1991). Hodgkinson (1990) suggested that the
future success of the nonprofit sector is dependent on this relationship.

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Attitudes
According to Rokeach (1968, p. 159), An attitude is an organization of several beliefs focused on a specific object (physical or
social, concrete or abstract) or situation, predisposing one to respond in some preferential manner. Unfortunately, there is an inconsistent use of the attitude construct in previous research. For example, in his 1994 literature review, Smith includes values, political
efficacy, civic duty, perceived benefits relative to costs, and purposive incentives as attitudes. Future research should be careful to
define and differentiate important concepts.
Attitudes have been used to help discriminate volunteers from
non-volunteers in specific situations. Yavas, Riecken and Parameswaren (1981) reported that respondent attitude towards United
Way was helpful in discriminating non-donors from respondents
who had made a donation to United Way in the previous two years.
Other studies show that attitudes towards specific organizations or
towards a specific organizations policies were useful in discriminating non-volunteers from volunteers (Smith 1994).
By using Katzs functional approach to attitudes, Omoto and
Snyder (1993) conducted a national survey of AIDS volunteers.
From their study the value expression function emerged as the
prominent attitude function. It is this function from which individuals derive satisfactions by expressing attitudes appropriate to their
personal values and to their concepts of themselves (Rokeach
1973). Okun (1994) reported similar findings using a sample of
senior volunteers.
However, since attitudes are directed at specific objects, their use
in differentiating all volunteers from all non-volunteers is necessarily limited. Attitudes are also limited in predicting volunteer participation because of the potential confounding effects of situational
factors inherent in any volunteer experience. For example, in order
to predict participation using attitudes, not only must the attitude for
the target organization be measured, but so must the attitude for the
volunteer role, organizational client, volunteer supervisor, and so
forth.
It is also doubtful if attitude can be useful to nonprofit marketers
in developing recruitment messages. For example, people may have
positive attitudes towards the Red Cross or the Girl Scouts and not

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have any desire to volunteer for these organizations. In a national


survey, Brudney and Brown (1990) found that recruitment was a
top priority among volunteer administrators. Clary et al. (1994)
indicated that much more needs to be known about effective recruitment appeals. They reported that, while most people are favorably
disposed towards volunteering, they fail to act. Reasons given for
not volunteering are unrelated to the organization--for example,
people are too busy or having health problems.

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SOCIAL VARIABLES
Even though person-related variables have been shown to be an
important aspect of voluntary participation, they are insufficient to
explain volunteerism (Hougland and Christenson 1982). Participation seems, in part, to be also determined by social influences
(Schindler-Rainman and Lippitt 1971; Babchuk and Booth 1969;
Shure 1988).
Friends, family members, and others who are part of an individuals social networks can exert varying degrees of influence on voluntary participation. Social influences provide incentives or disincentives for an individuals volunteer behavior by supporting,
failing to support, or discouraging the behavior of volunteering
(Clary et al. 1994). Previous literature regarding the relationship
between social variables and voluntary participation can be categorized into three parts: influences from an individuals (1) previous
and (2) current social groups, and (3) expectations of future relationships.
Previous Social Influences
Smith and Baldwin (1974) found that parental attitudes about
volunteering influenced their childrens participation when the children became adults. Volunteers are more likely than non-volunteers
to have had parents who were themselves volunteer participants
(Shure 1988).
Current Social Influences
In addition to a family-of-origin influencing participation, an
individuals procreative family also influences volunteering. For

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example, as children progress through their school-age years, their


activities encourage parental volunteering in various organizations
(Schiff 1990; Berger 1991; Smith 1994). Previous research supports
this idea, reporting that volunteers tend to have more children than
non-volunteers (Edwards and White 1980; INDEPENDENT SECTOR 1988, 1992). Dempsey (1988) reported similar findings in her
study of alumni of a womens college. Dunn (1988) surveyed 525
young group leaders and found the typical volunteer had young
children. (Also see Gerard 1985; Bequette 1990.)
Married people are more likely to participate than non-married
people (Luloff et al. 1984; Auslander and Litwin 1988; Hodgkinson, Weitzman et al. 1992; Fischer and Schaffer 1993). However,
when non-married people volunteer they tend to give more of their
time (Berger 1991). One study reported that women having husbands on agency boards were more likely to volunteer (Dempsey
1988). Schram and Dunsing (1981) reported that husbands attitudes about working outside the home influenced wives participation.
Yavas and Riecken (1985) found that volunteers, compared to
non-volunteers, felt less influenced by family/job demands on their
time. For example, if an individuals spouse is very critical about
time spent away from the home volunteering, then the individual is
less likely to volunteer than someone in the opposite circumstance.
A study of rescue squad volunteers found that their families were
very supportive of their volunteering (Gora and Nemerowicz 1991).
Other studies have supported the importance of social influences
on voluntary participation. For example, people are more likely to
volunteer if personally asked (Berger 1991; INDEPENDENT SECTOR 1988, 1992). They are also more likely to volunteer if a friend
or family member is involved in the voluntary organization (Adams
1980; Hougland and Wood 1980; Widmer 1985; Rohs 1986; Lovelock and Weinberg 1989; Perkins 1989; Bequette 1990).
Many people who are otherwise predisposed to volunteer require
only to be asked by another person to begin participation. More
people think volunteering is a good idea than actually volunteer;
people generally have favorable dispositions about volunteering
(Fischer and Schaffer 1993; Clary et al. 1994). Apparently, some
people require only a minimal amount of coaxing to behave in a

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manner consistent with their positive feelings about volunteering.


Nonprofit marketing could benefit greatly by learning more about
the reluctant volunteer, the volunteer who is predisposed to volunteer but waits until asked by another person.
Social networks outside the family influence participation. Individuals are more likely to volunteer in circumstances in which
volunteering is esteemed by others than in circumstances in which
volunteering is disdained and ridiculed (Schindler-Rainman and
Lippitt 1971). Shure (1988) found that the Big Brother volunteers in
his study believed that their volunteer work was esteemed in their
community. In their study of AIDS volunteers, Omoto and Snyder
(1993) found that some volunteers reported an esteem-enhancement
motive.
Another manner in which friends influence participation occurs
when two or more friends choose to become volunteers together, at
the same time (Heshka 1983). This reciprocal social support relationship has received little research attention and is not well understood.
People in smaller, rural communities are more likely to volunteer
than their counterparts (Curtis, Grabb, and Baer 1992; Sundeen
1992). Luloff et al. (1984), however, reported no significant difference between community size and participation. The length of time
residing in a community is correlated with participation (Berger
1991).
People receiving (or who have received) services from a volunteer
agency are more likely to volunteer than their counterparts (Adams
1980; Hodgkinson and Weitzman 1986; Hodgkinson, Weitzman,
Noga, and Gorski 1992).
Church attendance/membership has also been consistently correlated with voluntary participation (Gerard 1985; Hodgkinson, Weitzman, and Kirsch 1990; Cnaan, Kasternakis, and Wineburg 1993;
Fischer and Schaffer 1993).
Future Social Associations
Future or anticipated associations resulting from volunteering
can exert influence. Some voluntary roles require the establishment
of a relationship between the direct service provider and service
recipient. Many volunteer roles facilitate interaction with other volun-

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teers. The perceived desirability an individual places on the interpersonal associations could be expected to have some influence on
the decision to volunteer. Unfortunately, little is known about the
relationship between the expected interpersonal interaction with
other volunteers and clients on participation. There is some evidence in the literature that older people, especially widowed seniors, view volunteering as one way to be around other people. The
prospect of making new friends is also a motivator for participation
for some (Gillespie and King 1985).
EFFICACY
Efficacy, as used here, refers to peoples perceptions of their own
bundles of skills, talents, and competencies. Efficacy is reinforced
and generalized by feedback from society. For example, certain
occupations or social positions are rewarded financially and socially. Used thus, groups with high levels of efficacy could be expected
to have internal loci of control, feeling in greater control of their
lives than their counterparts.
Demonstrated Efficacy
In discussing citizen participation, Moe (1980) suggested that as
a precondition to participating people need to believe that their
efforts will make a tangible difference in the collective good provided by an organization. Previous demographic research repeatedly found that volunteers are likely to be well-educated, middle-class
persons with professional (or other socially-prominent) occupational status who, in terms of race or ethnicity, represent the majority of
American and European volunteers (Gerard 1985; Dempsey 1988;
Dunn 1988; Lafer 1989; OConnor and Johnson 1989; Schlegelmilch and Tynan 1989; INDEPENDENT SECTOR 1988, 1992).
These volunteers are likely characterized by a greater sense of
efficacy, perceiving their abilities and talents to be useful to volunteer organizations (Allen and Rushton 1983; Miller 1985; Florin,
Jones, and Wandersman 1986; Brown and Zahrly 1989; Smith
1994). Some volunteers look for voluntary organizations and volunteer roles that can make direct use of their abilities (Widmer 1985).

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Volunteers tend to have positive self-images, feeling capable and


competent (Gerard 1985; Fischer and Schaffer 1993; Okun 1994).
Miller (1985) reported that volunteers participation was influenced
by the extent to which they felt in control of their lives. Auslander
and Litwin (1988) found that the lowest rates of participation were
by persons who were laid-off, on strike or disabled. One plausible
explanation for these groups very low participation rates is that
they share a low sense of efficacy.
Previous research supports the idea that volunteers, in general,
are more engaged in various activities than non-volunteers, suggesting that volunteers are characterized as leading active lifestyles
(Smith 1969; Smith, Macaulay, and Associates 1980; Chambre
1987; Hodgkinson, Weitzman, Noga, and Gorski 1992). Gerards
(1985) national survey in Great Britain also discovered that volunteers had better health, found greater meaning in life, expressed a
greater preference for active pursuits and were self-assured.
Desired Efficacy
In contrast to the dominant group of volunteers who want to use
their skills, demonstrating their efficacy, other groups of volunteers
seek to enhance their efficacy through voluntary participation
(Smith 1981; Rubin and Thorelli 1984).
One group volunteering, in part, to enhance their efficacy is the
elderly. While some retired professionals apply their experiences
and skills as volunteers, other elderly volunteers desire to enhance
their efficacy, perceiving volunteering as a means to feel more
useful and productive (Okun and Eisenberg 1992; Fischer and
Schaffer 1993; Okun 1994).
Another group who perceives participation as a means of enhancing its efficacy is comprised of those seeking skill acquisition.
This group is typically represented by people entering/re-entering
the work force and desiring a career change. They share a common
desire to acquire credentials, skills, knowledge, or experience that
will facilitate attractive employment (Gillespie and King 1985).
Gora and Nemerowicz (1991) studied rescue squad volunteers and
found that some were motivated to participate in order to obtain
medical training that could be transferred to occupational objec-

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tives. Schram and Dunsing (1981) reported that young female


homemakers volunteer work enabled them to gain job experience.

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CONTEXTUAL BARRIERS
Contextual barriers (situations external to the person) can inhibit
or impede ones desire to volunteer. For example, an organization
may require a minimum time commitment that exceeds the maximum time the recruit is willing to donate. Many non-volunteers feel
that they do not have sufficient free time (Cnaan, Kasternakis, and
Wineburg 1993; Clary et al. 1994). An organization may be located
too distant for the recruit to consider feasible. Heidrich (1988)
suggests that a person could live where there may be no organization which matches with the persons values.
There may be other barriers. For example, volunteers absorb a
certain amount of out-of-pocket expenses related to volunteering.
Additionally, a potential volunteer may forgo opportunities to earn
income during the time donated to a voluntary organization, thereby
increasing the opportunity costs associated with volunteering (Rados 1981; Lovelock and Weinberg 1989). Another contextual barrier can be the perceived or actual physical requirements of volunteering. While volunteers tend to report being in good or excellent
health (Shure 1988), poor health has demonstrated to be a deterrent
to volunteering (Fischer and Schaffer 1993).
Psychological or emotional demands may also present contextual
barriers to volunteering. Many human service volunteers must work
in psychologically demanding circumstances, helping needy clients
who give no positive feedback in return. Recipients of human service agencies can feel humiliation, responding to the direct service
volunteer with resentment instead of appreciation (Rubin and Thorelli 1984). Some people participate as hospice volunteers, assisting
terminally ill people prior to their deaths. Hospice volunteers must
be capable of dealing with the powerful emotions surrounding human death (Lafer 1989). Other volunteers help people with AIDS
(Omoto and Snyder 1993). These volunteers have to deal with their
feelings about the person their helping, the person-with-AIDS
death, and possible fear of contracting HIV (Omoto and Snyder
1990).

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FUTURE RESEARCH
Although much has been learned about why people participate in
voluntary organizations, more needs to be known. Smith (1994)
claims that the scope of most studies is generally too narrow, referring to the tendency to examine a small group of variables contained within one or two determinant factors. Studies examining
volunteer participation at a higher level of abstraction is needed to
obtain a better understanding of the relative importance of factors
and the interaction among them.
Typically, research has progressed by examining the effects of a
variety of variables on voluntary participation outside of a theoretical framework. It is hoped that the framework used in this review
can help to guide subsequent research. A unifying framework is
very helpful in underscoring gaps in our knowledge as well as in
helping to integrate disparate studies being performed across academic disciplines.
Another difficulty with much of the previous research is that the
sample of volunteers tends to be limited to a single organization or
organization type, limiting the generalizability of the findings
(Cnaan and Goldberg-Glen 1991). As a consequence, we know
little about how volunteers in the various categories of the third
sector differ and whether findings in one setting can be generalized
to other settings.
Finally, the lack of a unifying theory embodying concepts from a
variety of disciplines detracts from the appeal of studies dealing
with volunteerism. The synthesis presented in this paper suggests
that while volunteerism has long intrigued scholars from diverse
disciplines such as social psychology, marketing, human resources
management, etc., there is a definite paucity of research grounded
on a cross-fertilization of ideas and concepts from these seemingly
disparate fields.
In addition to conducting future research that addresses these
types of drawbacks in previous research, there are also numerous
questions that need to be examined. Figure 2 presents some of these
questions for future research.

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FIGURE 2. Research Questions

Determinant
Variable
Person

Research Questions
1) Which value paradigm best describes volunteers?
2) Are values expressed through volunteerism consistent across volunteer roles? If not, what framework would best explain differences?

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3) What value measurement tool is most useful?


4) Do volunteers values change with experience? If so, what impact
does this have on future volunteering activities?
5) Will claims focusing on important values that can be expressed
through volunteer work enhance recruitment?
6) Can non-volunteers be recruited by highlighting an inconsistency
between pro-social values and failure to volunteer?
Social

1) What is the relationship between parental volunteering and children


volunteering as adolescents or after reaching adulthood? Do children see volunteering as a rewarding experience? Are children
inculcated with values which are conducive to volunteering?
2) Should NPOs communicate with children to demonstrate the importance of volunteer work? If so, how should this be done? What
role, if any, should educators play in the process?
3) What effects on volunteering are there from circumstances of childhood? Does community size play a significant role? Will the
growing poverty rate among children lead to adults who volunteer
or to adults who require services?
4) To what extent is volunteering enhanced when two or more friends/
relatives volunteer together? How important is a reciprocal social
support system? What is the nature of the causal relationship? Do
individuals get a greater supply of credible information from participating friends or family members that influences the individual decision process? Do individuals believe that as volunteers, they will
be alongside others (like their friends and family members) who
share similar values, providing an indication that the participation
will allow an expression of important values? Is the relationship one
of social support? Do volunteers rely on friends and family to
reduce the anxiety associated with the uncertainties of beginning a
(continued)

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new, unfamiliar activity? What is the relationship between having


a friend or family member in an organization and the volunteers
performance and attrition? What proportion of volunteers begin
their participation with a friend in order to receive reciprocal support? If this type of social support is needed by some individuals to
ease the transition into the volunteer role, would volunteer administrators benefit by establishing a mentoring program to enculturate the new volunteer into the organization? Should marketers
communicate to potential volunteers that the uncertainties of becoming a volunteer are understood by the NPO and will be reduced by empathetic others?

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5) How effective are appeals emphasizing the interpersonal benefits


of volunteering?
6) Why are community size and length of residence correlated with
volunteer activity? Is the need for volunteering more visible in
smaller communities? Are recipients more likely to be known to
the volunteer and thus enhancing the need to help ones neighbors? Do residents of smaller communities accept greater responsibility for assisting others?
7) What relationship exists between receiving services at one time
and volunteering later? Does the receiving of services enculturate
the individual into the social network resulting in a desire to continue in the network at another level once the need for receiving
services is no longer there? Does becoming a volunteer decrease
feelings of powerlessness that may have been instilled by the
experience of receiving services?
8) Why is church membership related to volunteering? Do members
express religious feeling through volunteering or are social influences within the church a greater determinant? Are both determinant? If so, how do they interact? Do they differently affect
different volunteer roles or organizations?
9) What are the characteristics of the reluctant volunteer segment?
Are they demographically homogeneous? How do they compare
to active volunteers and to chronic non-donors? What is the prime
inhibiting factor that precludes their volunteering? Once volunteers, how does their performance compare to other volunteers?
Do they exhibit a greater turnover?
Efficacy

1) Do non-volunteers feel less competent and capable than volunteers? Are they inhibited by a perception that they possess few
skills or competencies of use to voluntary agencies?
(continued)

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JOURNAL OF NONPROFIT & PUBLIC SECTOR MARKETING


FIGURE 2 (continued)
2) What is the relationship between being a member of a minority,
disenfranchised, or low socio-economic group and participation?
3) What affect does acquiring skills as a volunteer have on the duration and intensity of participation? Should recruitment communications emphasize that volunteering has the benefit of enhancing a persons efficacy?

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Context

1) What is the relationship between contextual barriers and participation?


2) What psychological contextual barriers exist? How may recruiters
overcome these barriers?
3) Should recruitment communications minimize or counter contextual barriers that non-volunteers report as inhibitors? Does minimizing contextual barriers distort expectations of new volunteers,
leading to increased turnover?
4) Why do non-volunteers choose not to volunteer?

CONCLUSION
NPOs have been and still are an important part of our society.
Although NPOs always performed marketing functions, they have
only recently received major attention from marketing researchers.
Nonprofit marketing has been accepted as an important field in
marketing research, but the time is ripe to go beyond the descriptive/normative studies to more in-depth analysis. A central concern
is research on volunteer behavior.
Volunteers are essential for many NPOs. Previous work on volunteers among marketing researchers has focused on demographic
differentiation of volunteers and non-volunteers. However, knowing that the volunteer tends to be a person of above-average income
and education who is middle-aged or slightly younger and domestically settled with a spouse and child is insufficient for the NPO in
attracting the best volunteers with the requisite skills (OConnor
and Johnson 1989). Demographic findings are important in identifying potential volunteers for target marketing. However, the manager must also know what factors influence volunteers in order to
construct and deliver the most effective marketing appeals. It is

Wymer, Riecken, and Yavas

21

hoped that this review will acquaint marketing researchers with


what is known about influences acting on an individuals decision
to volunteer across academic disciplines. It is also hoped that this
review will stimulate interest for additional studies that could increase our knowledge of this important area. The usefulness of
studies regarding volunteer behavior is more important than ever
because of societal changes that are making volunteer recruitment
more challenging than ever before.

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