Volunteer Retention Motives and Determinants across the Volunteer Lifecycle

Bill Merrilees, Dale Miller, Raisa Yakimova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


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
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing
Issue number1
Early online date7 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2020


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