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Topical Resource Lists

A Resource List

The success of many nonprofit organizations often depends on the hard work of its volunteers. Nonprofit leaders today have begun to recruit and manage diverse groups of volunteers using new technologies. This resource list contains citations to selected works from the Foundation Center's bibliographic database Catalog of Nonprofit Literature on the topic of voluntarism. For a complete bibliography on this topic, search Catalog of Nonprofit Literature, under the main subject heading Voluntarism (sample search).

General Resources

Brudney, Jeffrey L. (ed.) Emerging Areas of Volunteering. Indianapolis: Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action, 2005.

Contents: "Employee Volunteer Programs" by Mary Tschirhart; "Virtual Volunteering" by Vic Murray and Yvonne Harrison; "Societal Changes and the Rise of the Episodic Volunteer" by Nancy Macduff; "Cross-National Volunteering: A Developing Movement?" by Justin Davis Smith, Angela Ellis, and Georgina Brewis; "Board Members of Nonprofit Organizations as Volunteers" by Robert D. Herman; "Government Volunteerism in the New Millennium" by Sarah Jane Rehnborg; and "Toward the Future of Volunteering" by Beth Gazley.

Cohen, Rick. "Volunteering by the Numbers." Nonprofit Quarterly vol. 15 (Fall 2008) p. 34-8, 40-1.

Summarizes findings from recent research on voluntarism, including surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Eisner, David; Robert T. Grimm, Jr.; Shannon Maynard; Susannah Washburn. "The New Volunteer Workforce." Stanford Social Innovation Review, v. 7 (Winter 2009) p. 32-7.

Advice for nonprofit leaders for improving volunteer management in ways that will enhance the quality of volunteer labor and help nonprofits to better retain their volunteers. Features information on developing a strategic volunteer plan.

Musick, Marc A. and John Wilson. Volunteers: A Social Profile. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2008.

In this research study of voluntarism worldwide, the authors examine motivations and many other factors that influence volunteering, based on surveys and other sources of statistical data.

Vineyard, Sue and Steve McCurley. Best Practices for Volunteer Programs. Darien, IL: Heritage Arts, 2001.

A guidebook providing tips on volunteer management. Describes the changing face of voluntarism and suggests new techniques for recruiting, retaining, and leading volunteers.


Lysakowski, Linda. Nonprofit Essentials: Recruiting and Training Fundraising Volunteers. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.

Explains how to find and attract volunteers, and provides sample job descriptions. The book also covers the training of volunteers and management of their work alongside staff members.

Successful Strategies for Recruiting, Training, and Utilizing Volunteers: A Guide for Faith- and Community-Based Service Providers. Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005.

Developed by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, the booklet provides pragmatic guidance on establishing and managing a volunteer program. Many aspects of the plan, including numerous worksheets, can be applied in other service fields. View the full text (PDF)

Swinson, Judy Looman. "Focusing on the Health Benefits of Volunteering as a Recruitment Strategy." International Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 24 (October 2006): p. 25-30.

Describes several studies that support the notion that volunteering provides health benefits. The author suggests using this information to enhance recruiting efforts targeted at the baby boomer generation. View the full text (PDF)

Ventura Yanay, Galit and Niza Yanay. "The Decline of Motivation? From Commitment to Dropping Out of Volunteering." Nonprofit Management & Leadership, vol. 19 (Fall 2008) p. 65-78.

This study investigates the reasons why volunteers drop out of an organization. The authors interview a sample of 20 female volunteers from the Center for Assistance to Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, an emergency hotline facility in Israel, comparing volunteers who dropped out shortly after receiving their initial training with volunteers who dropped out after a year or more of service.


Cravens, Jayne. "Online Volunteering Enters Middle Age." Nonprofit Quarterly, vol. 14 (Spring 2007): p. 65-8.

The author demonstrates why online volunteering is a management issue rather than a technological one. Beginning with an overview of how online volunteering has emerged, Cravens gives tips on how to successfully integrate online and face-to-face volunteer programs.

Dhebar, Beatrice Bezmalinovic and Benjamin Stokes. "A Nonprofit Manager's Guide to Online Volunteering." Nonprofit Management & Leadership, vol. 18 (Summer 2008) p. 497-506.

Based on a study of an online volunteering service used by over 300 organizations and 10,000 volunteers, this article identifies emerging practices for operating online volunteering programs, and offers recommendations for managers who are just getting started. Includes list of online volunteering resources.

Fernandez, Kim. "Sticky Business: Strategies for Managing Volunteers Who Fall Out of Step." Currents, vol. 31 (September 2005): p. 16-9, 21, 23.

Liao-Troth, Matthew (ed.) Challenges in Volunteer Management. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc. 2008. viii, 277 p.

Contents include: "Management Capacity and Retention of Volunteers" by Mark A. Hager and Jeffrey L. Brudney; "No 'One Best' Volunteer Management and Organizing: Two Fundamentally Different Approaches" by Lucas C. P. M Meijs and Ester M. Ten Hoorn; "A Typology of Short-Term and Long-Term Volunteers" by Linda S. Hartenian; "Streamlining Volunteer Management Through Information Communication and Communication Technologies" by Valentina Mele; "Volunteer Management in Community Currency Systems: An Examination of Time Banks" by Bruce B. Clary; "Organizational Models for Emerging Volunteers in State Government" by Sarah Jane Rehnborg and Thomas McVey; "Challenges of Volunteer Management in Kazakhstan" by Tamara G. Nezhina, Jeffrey L. Brudney, and Aigerim R. Ibrayeva; "Volunteer Management in Polish NGOs: Challenges of Formalization" by Angela L. Bies and Stephanie A. Curs; "Fine Lines: Design and Implementation Challenges in Employee Volunteer Programs" by Mary Tschirhart and Lynda St. Clair; "Fraternal Involvement in Volunteering: The Membership Impact of Join Hands Day" by Robert K. Christensen and James L. Perry; and a concluding chapter by Vic Murray.

McKee, Michael. "The Care and Feeding of Volunteers." Grassroots Fundraising Journal, vol. 24 (September-October 2005): p. 4-8.

The associate director of the New York State Tenants & Neighbors Coalition provides advice for volunteer managers.

Woodill, Jennifer. "Volunteer Management: Once More With Meaning." Nonprofit Quarterly, vol. 15 (Spring 2008) p. 74-7.

The author expresses doubts about applying regimented "best practices" to volunteer management, which stress efficiency, resource development, and control. She asserts that such methods commodify and alienate volunteers, and proposes an alternative approach emphasizing social inclusion and community development.

Risk Management

Cilenti, Maria (ed.) The Volunteer Workforce: Legal Issues and Best Practices for Nonprofits. New York, NY: Lawyers Alliance for New York, 2007.

A guidebook for managing risk in volunteer programs. Topics covered include young and senior volunteers, animals, corporate volunteers, public relations issues, insurance, and volunteer protection laws. With bibliographical references and resource list.

Coolidge, Carrie. "Biting a Helping Hand." Forbes, vol. 176 (3 October 2005): p. 82.

Explains that volunteers who serve on nonprofit boards may find themselves in legal jeopardy in the case where the nonprofit is sued. The article offers brief advice for protection, including directors and officers insurance.

Herman, Melanie L., Peggy M. Jackson, and Barbara B. Oliver. No Surprises: Harmonizing Risk and Reward in Volunteer Management, 4th edition. Washington, D.C.: Nonprofit Risk Management Center, 2006.

A guidebook for managing risk in volunteer programs. Topics covered include young and senior volunteers, animals, corporate volunteers, public relations issues, insurance, and volunteer protection laws. With bibliographical references and resource list.


Ellis, Susan J. "Evaluating Your Organization from a Volunteer's Point of View." Nonprofit World, vol. 18 (January-February 2000): p. 32-3.

Provides a form with criteria that enables nonprofits to evaluate their response to volunteers.

Mulvey, Holly J. et al. "Tell Us What You Really Think: How One Professional Association Developed an Online Tool to Assess Volunteer Satisfaction." Association Management, vol. 57 (July 2005): p. 56-9.

Strieter, Linda A. "Successful Methods and Positive Outcomes for 4-H Volunteer Evaluation." International Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 24 (October 2007): p. 92-5.

Describes the New Jersey 4-H Volunteer Review Process.

Toppe, Chris and Joe Galaskiewicz. Measuring Volunteering Committee Report. Washington, DC: Points of Light Foundation, 2006.

This report delves into the problem of accurately collecting statistics about volunteering, as people define the concept differently. View the full text (PDF)

Waters, Richard D. and Denise Bortree. "Measuring the Volunteer - Nonprofit Organization Relationship: An Application of Public Relations Theory." International Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 24 (October 2007): p. 57-67.

Presents a model to help nonprofits understand, evaluate, and improve relationships with volunteers. The study focuses on four areas: trust, satisfaction, commitment, and power balance.

Corporate Voluntarism

2009 Executive Summary: Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey. Deloitte, 2009. 4 p.

Summarizes findings from a survey of corporations and nonprofits on their perceptions of pro bono or skilled voluntarism. View the full text (PDF)

Berkley, Bert and Peter Economy. Giving Back: Connecting You, Business, and Community. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

A guide for members of the business world, discussing the value of becoming involved in charitable activities and social change. Features various case studies and interviews with business and nonprofit leaders who have created lasting changes in their own communities and beyond.

Boccalandro, Bea. The Methods Behind the Magic: Examining the Practices of Atlanta’s Exemplary Employee Volunteer Programs. . Boston, MA: Boston College. Center for Corporate Citizenship, 2008. [10 p.]

Describes the practices of company volunteer programs that were nominated for the 2008 and 2007 Corporate Volunteer Council of Atlanta IMPACT Awards.

Burnes, Kathy and Judith G. Gonyea. Expanding the Boundaries of Corporate Volunteerism: Retirees as a Valuable Resource. Boston, MA: Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, 2005.

This research report is based on a study of 22 corporations--more than 1,000 employees and recent retirees--around the U. S. The findings show that businesses need to pay attention to the potential benefits that retirees bring to volunteer efforts.

Volunteering for Impact: Best Practices in International Corporate Volunteering. Boston, MA: FSG Social Impact Advisors, 2007.

Young Volunteers

Barnett, Rosemary V. and M.A. Brennan. "Youth Volunteers: Effects of Influences, Motivations, and Receptivity on Volunteerism." International Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 25 (March 2008): p. 39-51.

This study on youth volunteer motivations is based on interview and survey data collected in 2005 from youth and adults in Florida.

Bortree, Denise Sevick and Richard D. Waters. "The Value of Feeling Included: The Impact of Inclusion on Teen Volunteers’ Organizational Satisfaction." International Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 25 (March 2008): p. 17-26.

The study found that the level of inclusion experienced by teen volunteers was related to satisfaction with the organization. The study was based on survey data from three library systems in the southeastern United States.

Hand, Nathan. "Exploring Youth Volunteer Service Requirements." Volunteer Leadership, (Winter 2007): p. 26-30.

Discusses the pros and cons of volunteer service requirements in schools across the country. Preliminary research indicates that mandatory service programs are not achieving goals.

Risler, Ed; Michael J. Holosko; and Schnavia Smith Hatcher. "A Conceptual Model for Empowering Youth Through Volunteerism." International Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 25 (March 2008): p. 52-62.

Presents a framework for youth volunteer engagement that focuses on three elements: volunteer environment, interactive processes, and lessons learned by volunteers and the community.

Tomaselli, Kathleen Phalen. "Kids, Volunteering and the Digital Age: The New Way to Recruit Youth Volunteers." Volunteer Leadership, (Winter 2007): p. 14-20.

Senior Volunteers

Fixler, Jill Friedman; Sandie Eichberg; and Gail Lorenz. Boomer Volunteer Engagement: Collaborate Today, Thrive Tomorrow. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse. 2008. 179 p.

Explores the ways in which nonprofits can tap the baby boomer demographic as a volunteering resource for their organizations. The authors indicate that boomer volunteers tend to be highly skilled and passionate, and nonprofit groups that hope to embrace them as volunteers may need to shift their attitudes from those of mere volunteer management toward a more dynamic system of "volunteer engagement." The book offers a step-by-step guide to creating an organizational culture that is conducive to recruiting and engaging baby boomer volunteers, complete with worksheets and progress reports. Includes appendices, glossary, and resource list.

Hong, Song-Iee; Nancy Morrow-Howell; Fengyan Tang; James Hinterlong. "Engaging Older Adults in Volunteering: Conceptualizing and Measuring Institutional Capacity." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, vol. 38 (April 2009) p. 200-19.

Presents a framework for measuring an institution's ability to engage older volunteers. To assess the model, program directors across the country were asked to rate their institutional capacity in several areas. Survey results indicate that while programs had a high capacity to communicate volunteer opportunities and recognize volunteers, the programs did not have the capacity to provide cash compensation. With bibliographical references.

Intergenerational Connections: Older Volunteers in the Arts and Humanities. New York, NY: International Longevity Center, 2005.

New thinking in the area of voluntarism is emphasizing the reciprocal nature of intergenerational programs: both older people and children benefit. This paper suggests ways to create support for such initiatives in the arts.
View the full text (PDF)

Volunteering Among Older Adults: Population Projections, 2007-2050. Washington, DC: Corporation for National & Community Service, 2007.

Estimates are based on population projections from the Census Bureau and survey data from the Current Population Survey.

Women Volunteers

Foster, Mary K. and Agnes G. Meinhard. "Women's Voluntary Organizations in Canada: Bridgers, Bonders, or Both?" Voluntas, vol. 16 (June 2005): p. 143-59.

A survey of the leaders of 645 voluntary organizations demonstrated that women's agencies engage in collaborative efforts and interorganizational relationships more than gender-neutral ones do. With bibliographical references.

Minter, Michele. "Women's Volunteerism and Philanthropy at Princeton University." New Directions for Philanthropic Fundraising, vol. 50 (Winter 2005): p. 125-139.

A case study of Princeton University's Women in Leadership Initiative, which has helped the institution increase its donor and volunteer base.

Volunteers With Disabilities

Andrews, Jane. "Altruism or Self-Actualisation? Disabled Volunteers' Perceptions of the Benefits of Volunteering." Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 23, Number 4(2005): p. 16-22.

Study findings are presented based on interviews with 50 people with disabilities. The author categorizes the benefits as both personal and external. With bibliographical references.

Black, Beverly. "Persons with Disabilities: Barriers and Rewards to Volunteering in Hospice Programs." Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 23, Number 1(2005): p. 32-6.

A statistical compilation based on a survey of volunteer coordinators in Detroit, Michigan.

Stroud, Suzanne et al. "Engaging Volunteers with Disabilities: A Qualitative Study." Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 23, Number 4 (2005): p. 6-15.

Data was collected by utilizing an online survey of volunteer coordinators in the U.S., Vancouver, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The collective responses of the managers, and their implications, are described.

Family Volunteering

Family Volunteering: A Guide for the Workplace, Washington, DC: Points of Light Foundation, 2007.

Provides advice for managers who are planning employee volunteer programs for families.

Friedman, Jenny. The Busy Family's Guide to Volunteering. Beltsville, MD: Robins Lane Press, 2003.

Explains how families can incorporate volunteering into busy schedules, and how to select activities that are age-appropriate. Specific opportunities and organizations are described in the areas of environmental protection, social action, poverty, and senior centers, to name a few. One chapter is devoted to volunteer vacations.

International Voluntarism

Alternatives to the Peace Corps. 12th ed. Oakland, CA: Food First Books, 2008.

A directory of volunteer and community development opportunities in third world countries and the United States.

Cravens, Jayne. "Involving International Online Volunteers: Factors for Success, Organizational Benefits, and New Views of Community." International Journal of Volunteer Administration, vol. 24 (June 2006): p. 15-23.

Provides a historical overview of online volunteering and discusses key challenges. Findings from a survey of international volunteers provide insight on the benefits to organizations, views of online volunteers, and success factors. View the full text (PDF)

Sherraden, Margaret Sherrard et al. "The Forms and Structures of International Voluntary Service." Voluntas, vol. 17 (June 2006): p. 163-80.

In this analysis, the authors differentiate between programs that enhance international understanding from those that provide development and humanitarian aid--and give examples of both short- and long-term programs in each category. With bibliographical references.

Links to Internet Resources

Foundations Center's FAQ on Volunteer Opportunities

Learn how to locate volunteer programs on the Web with the Center's FAQ.

Points of Light Foundation

The Points of Light Foundation's mission is to encourage community service to help solve social problems. The Web site contains information on its training sessions, programs, and other useful resources. Local volunteer organizations can be located on the Points of Light Foundation's Volunteer Center National Network.

Service Leader

An extensive Web site that is divided into five areas: virtual voluntarism; volunteer management; voluntarism in school settings; advice for volunteers; and online tutoring. Service Leader is a project of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with the Charles A. Dana Center.

Energize, Inc. has a well-organized Web site that provides resources for volunteer leadership, including an online bookstore. Energize is a training, consulting and publishing company that specializes in voluntarism.

Volunteering in America

Developed by the Corporation for National and Community Service, this site can be used to access volunteering trends, statistics, tools, resources, and information U.S. regions, states, and major cities.
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