Volunteers represent an important resource to many nonprofit organizations. Keeping volunteers committed and engaged is as significant a goal to nonprofits as keeping paid employees committed and engaged is to for-profit companies. This study identified the factors that affect engagement for two volunteer leadership councils at one nonprofit organization. Engagement levels for 19 volunteers were assessed using a validated survey and 5 participants from each council were then selected for follow-up interviews about factors that affect their engagement. Findings indicated that both councils were similarly engaged in their work at the nonprofit. Meaningful work, intrinsic rewards, desire to make a difference, organizational commitment, attachment to the mission, perceived supervisor support, rewarding interpersonal relationships, extrinsic rewards, challenging work, and other job characteristics increased engagement. Performing disliked activities, unrewarding interpersonal relationships, lack of time to volunteer, and other factors decreased engagement. Practical recommendations and suggestions for continued research are offered.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Volunteers; Nonprofit organizations -- Management

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Chesley, Julie;