Episodic Volunteering at a Religious Megaevent: Pope Francis's Visit to Philadelphia

Ram A. Cnaan, H. Daniel Heist, Melissa Heinlein Storti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In preparation for Pope Francis's visit to Philadelphia and the 2015 World Meeting of Families, organizers looked for thousands of volunteers to help carry out these events. This is common for many one-time and episodic events, such as large sporting events (from marathons to Special Olympics), arts and cultural events (such as festivals and concerts), and fundraising events. After the pope's visit, volunteers were asked to respond to a questionnaire about their experiences and the volunteer management of the event; 2,408 responded (34.4 percent). Data on motivation, who volunteered, recruitment, training, assignment, supervision, communication, satisfaction, and suggestions for improvement were elicited. We focused on episodic volunteering at a religious event and on a broad spectrum of issues pertaining to management of episodic volunteers. Our findings add to the knowledge regarding volunteer management and also add to conceptual understanding of the distinction between ongoing and episodic volunteers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-104
Number of pages20
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • episodic volunteering
  • megaevent
  • religion
  • volunteer management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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