The Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Recruitment and Retention of Volunteers and Donors in the U.S.

Daniel Choi, Anna Ferris, Tiana Marrese, Ram Cnaan, Femida Handy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human service organizations in the US are heavily dependent on volunteers and donations. The COVID-19 pandemic compromised the ability of volunteer coordinators and fundraisers to obtain and retain such vital resources. This article details the experiences of those entrusted with the acquisition and retention of time and money for human service organizations during the pandemic. Volunteer coordinators faced obstacles in reestablishing a volunteer base, and keeping volunteers engaged and supported while navigating the health risks associated with COVID-19. Fundraisers had to rapidly adjust their solicitation methods amid greater demand for accountability, transparency, and impact from donors. These challenges required innovations and ad-hoc adjustments -both of which were difficult to initiate during the COVID-19 pandemic when operations were carried out virtually. Much has been made about how executive leadership or organizations responded to the pandemic. This article is unique by providing empirical evidence of how specific units within human service organizations adapted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Service Organizations Management, Leadership and Governance
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • disruptive extreme context
  • fundraising
  • nonprofit management
  • volunteer coordination
  • volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Strategy and Management


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