Performance and commitment issues in management of volunteers in human service organizations

Ram A. Cnaan, Toni A. Cascio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Volunteers are difficult to monitor because they are not liable to serious sanctions. We propose that we cannot learn about volunteer work from existing knowledge of paid employees. We then review the literature regarding volunteer commitment and performance. Based on a sample of 510 consistent volunteers in human service organizations, we assess three sets of variables (demographic, personality, and situational) to determine their significance in explaining variability in volunteer commitment and performance. The findings suggest that careful screening and use of symbolic rewards are significant in explaining variation in volunteer satisfaction, hours volunteered per month (commitment), and length of service (tenure).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 17 Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by a grant from the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy on behalf of the Lilly Endowment and other donors. Submitted: 3/96; Revision Received: 9/96; Accepted: 9/96.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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