Variations in Volunteer Use among Human Service Organizations in the USA




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Knowledge of volunteering and volunteer management requires understanding from both individual and organizational perspectives. However, most existing research focuses on individual volunteers and the supply side of volunteering, leaving the demand side substantially understudied. The present study examines the organizational perspective of volunteering, focusing on the differences in volunteer use among nonprofit organizations. In particular, this study tests how various organizational characteristics predict the size of the volunteer program in human service organizations in the USA. The results show that, controlling for revenue and employment size, the size of volunteer program is negatively associated with the proportion of business income, while it is not significantly associated with the proportion of charitable contributions and grants. This finding provides supports for the concerns that increasing commercialization of nonprofit organizations will weaken the role of volunteers in human service delivery. The results also reveal that the extent of volunteer use is positively associated with the culture of good governance within the organization as well as organizational involvement in political activities.


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Volunteers, Human services, Nonprofit organizations, Management, Pressure groups, Revenue


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