Employee experiences with volunteers: Assessment, description, antecedents, and outcomes

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Publication Date

Summer 2010

Publication Title

Nonprofit Management and Leadership





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Volunteers frequently serve public and nonprofit organizations, among them libraries, parks and recreation departments, social service groups, and religious organizations. Research on volunteers and volunteerism traditionally focuses on antecedents to volunteering and outcomes for volunteers. In this study, we attempt to build on the existing literature by examining the volunteer experience from the paid employee's vantage point. Using a sample of employees who work alongside volunteers in animal care organizations (N = 270), we examine how employees described the volunteers with whom they interact. Although these assessments were generally positive, there was considerable variability. This appears to be explained, in part, by each organization's volunteer resources management practices. Results also indicate that employees who reported less satisfactory experiences with volunteers also reported being more stressed, overworked, and less committed to the organization, and having a greater intention to quit. Importantly, these results held up even after controlling for general job satisfaction. Implications of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.