Carol Landry


Nonprofit agencies rely on continued support from volunteers, many who are 65 years of age or older, to provide aid and services to local community. However, community nonprofits have experienced a recent decline in volunteerism over the last six years. With the number of adults age 65 and over expected to double by 2060 in the United States, this twofold population could address the decline in volunteerism for nonprofit agencies. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological research was to explore and identify factors that influence motivation, recruitment and retention of volunteers age 65 and over. The study aimed to enhance understanding of how these adults make decisions regarding volunteer work, how they learned of the opportunity, what inspired them to volunteer, and what makes them committed to a particular organization. The study was specific to the nonprofit sector, focusing on individuals who volunteer at a charitable, religious, or health care organization in Southern California. The Existence, Relatedness, and Growth Theory was utilized to explain volunteer motivation and retention. Data were collected from 24 participants, age 65 and over, who volunteered a minimum of 12 times in a one year period. The study consisted of semi-structured interviews that were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for common themes. Major findings from the study included 5 major themes that can affect volunteer motivation, recruitment and retention in adults age 65 and over: (a) health benefits, (b) relatedness or connectedness, (c) meaning-purpose, (d) pro-social righteousness, and (e) personal involvement. Understanding these themes can provide considerable insight to volunteer mangers to help develop effective recruiting and retention strategies, designed specifically for the older-adult population, to increase volunteering in agencies throughout the United States.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Older volunteers -- California, Southern -- Case studies; Nonprofit organizations

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

McCabe, Molly;