Departmental Papers (SPP)

Summer on the Island: Episodic Volunteering

Femida Handy, University of Pennsylvania
Nadine Brodeur, York University
Ram A. Cnaan, University of Pennsylvania

Document Type Journal Article

Postprint version. Published in Voluntary Action, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2006, pages 31-42.


In the fields of volunteer research and management, the phenomenon of episodic volunteering is growing in popularity. This study of volunteers at summer festivals in British Columbia, Canada, is the first empirical study of episodic volunteers. We find three distinct groups of such volunteers and define them as Long-term Committed Volunteers (LTV), Habitual Episodic Volunteers (HEV) and Genuine Episodic Volunteers (GEV). We examine the differences between these three groups of volunteers in their commitment to volunteering, their motivations, their interest in tangible rewards and their willingness to donate money. We find some significant differences, expected and unexpected, among the three groups. This leads us to rethink current beliefs about episodic volunteers and to suggest questions for future research as well as ideas for the management of volunteers.


Date Posted: 05 January 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.