Volunteer Retention Motives and Determinants across the Volunteer Lifecycle

Bill Merrilees, Dale Miller, Raisa Yakimova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The focus of the paper is on better understanding volunteer retention. A broad-based survey of fourteen Australian nonprofit organizations develops an expanded quantitative model of volunteer retention by adding two new antecedents: values-congruency and altruistic motives to previous modeling. The study generates a more comprehensive set of rankings of volunteer retention motives, with altruism receiving top ranking. Using exploratory factor analysis, the study develops a new three-item perspective of altruism, combining helping, service and the cause. A new four-phase framework of the volunteer lifecycle is also developed. Investigating changes in retention motives over the life cycle reveals a major and unexpected finding, that the altruistic motive may actually become more important as volunteers move through the lifecycle.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing
Early online date7 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Nov 2019


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