Date of Award

5-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Human Capital Development

Committee Chair

Dr. Dale Lunsford

Committee Chair Department

Human Capital Development

Committee Member 2

Dr. Cyndi Gaudet

Committee Member 2 Department

Human Capital Development

Committee Member 3

Dr. Heather Annulis

Committee Member 3 Department

Human Capital Development

Committee Member 4

Dr. Patti Phillips

Committee Member 4 Department

Human Capital Development

Abstract

Volunteers contribute to the production of goods and services by easing the burden of the paid workforce while not increasing costs. Today’s volunteers tend to be highly trained, skilled professionals looking for a place to invest their time and skills. Churches are the largest single recipient of many volunteers’ efforts. Despite this fact, volunteerism is on the decline in churches.

Once recruited, attrition rates can climb as high as 40% in the first 12 months following training of volunteers. Therefore, the greatest challenge churches face is turnover. Not only does turnover lead to reduced production; it also incurs added expenditures for recruiting and training of new volunteers. The purpose of the study is to determine the relationship between a volunteer’s satisfaction with the volunteer experience as perceived by the volunteer, the influence of a volunteer coordinator as perceived by the volunteer, and a volunteer’s intent-to-continue volunteering among the 100 largest Protestant churches as identified by OutReach Magazine’s “The 100 Largest Churches in America 2013” list.

This study employs a descriptive, non-experimental research design utilizing a self-administered, electronic survey. The survey utilized multistage sampling to survey 424 current volunteers from the 100 largest Protestant churches in America. Levels of job satisfaction, intent-to-continue, and the influence of a volunteer coordinator were quantified and described in order to determine the relationship between the variables.

The study found the volunteer coordinator’s influence on both the volunteer’s satisfaction levels as perceived by the volunteer and the volunteer’s intent-to-continue were positive and statistically significant, p < .01. However, the study suggests the influence of a volunteer coordinator as perceived by the volunteer only explains some of the effect on the relationship. This indicates the importance of understanding the complex relationship comprised within the volunteer’s experience.

Recommendations for research include a longitudinal study design, which may explain short-term and long-term variations as well as introduce causal relationships. Study replication in churches that are smaller than the 100 largest churches in America may provide geographical and demographic diversity. Additional research is required to understand how social support, client concerns, and environment influence the volunteer experience.