Departmental Papers (SPP)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



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).


Copyright Haworth Press. Postprint version. Published in Journal of Social Service Research, Volume 24, Issue 3/4, 1998, pages 1-37.
The authors assert their right to include this material in the ScholarlyCommons@Penn.

Included in

Sociology Commons



Date Posted: 07 November 2006

This document has been peer reviewed.