Welcome to Our Redesigned Site!

New look. Even more content.
Something wrong? Let us know.

Research on Volunteering

Reports and studies on volunteering that can be found online. Can be academic research or studies done by government agencies, large nonprofits, or corporations.

Challenges for the Future, Justin Davis Smith and Michael Locke, eds., London: Institute for Volunteering Research, 2007
The Effects of Volunteering on the Volunteer, John Wilson and Marc Musick, Law and Contemporary Problems, 1999
The "global associational revolution", Lester M. Salamon, et. al., Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector, Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, 1999
A Great New Report to Praise, Criticize, and Use, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2004
It's Time to Start Counting Volunteers Seriously, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2001
Mystifying Data: Can America's Promise Get Away with It?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 1999
Research on Volunteerism...What Needs to Be Done, Susan J. Ellis, From Journal of Voluntary Action Research, Volume 14, Number 2-3, April-September 1985, pages 11-14. Originally presented at the Symposium at the 1984 AVAS Conference
Researchers Find Experience Corps Boosts Student Learning, Adult Health, 2009

Various studies of AARP Experience Corps

The Socioeconomic Resource Statement, Jack Quarter, Laurie Mook , Betty Jane Richmond, pp. 97-98, Pearson Education, 2003
Time and Money: An In-Depth Look at 45+ Volunteers and Donors, 2003
study by AARP on the extent of volunteering by older Americans, including informal helping and attention to ethnic minorities.
Universal Standards vs. Your Own Situation, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2003
Volunteering and Employability: Cause or Effect?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2013
Volunteering is good for your health, new study says, Peter Hilton, 2014

Highlights of a study by the UnitedHealth Group, the Optimum Institute, and Mashable finding a link between volunteering and better physical, mental, and emotional health.

What's the Mystery about Motivation?, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 1998
The Word "Volunteer" Can Reveal, Conceal, or Confuse, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2010
Wouldn't It Be Nice to Really Know, Susan J. Ellis, Energize Hot Topic, 2006

Volunteer Canada's report on "How do Canadians want to be recognized for their volunteer contributions?"

, 2013, pp. 10
Voluntary Sector Evaluation Research Project, Canadian initiative to improve the capacity of voluntary organizations to assess their performance and communicate their effectiveness to their funders, stakeholders and the public. , 2003, pp. 66

A discussion paper from Volunteering Canada. Excellent summary of the various ways to determine the monetary value of volunteer service, with an analysis of the pros and cons of each.

, 2009, pp. 13

By Alex Parish, Jane Heath, and Meryem Hassan for the National Center for Volunteering, UK. 

, 2003, pp. 60
Report from Temple University's Center for Intergenerational Learning on a study to gain a better understanding of why and how older immigrants contribute to their families and communities and to identify promising practices that support the engagement of immigrant elders in meaningful roles. , 2008, pp. 64

A "State of Volunteering Report" for 2014, produced by the Institute of Project Management for Volunteering Tasmania, Australia. Looks at the "value" of volunteers beyond financial.

, 2014, pp. 125

Produced by the Institute of Project Management for Volunteering WA. Comprehensive look at the "value"--beyond financial--of volunteer services. Report has nice infographics at the start and an executive summary.

, 2015, pp. 164
A Policy Brief from the National Human Services Assembly on efforts to promote family volunteering as a strategy for strengthening low-income families with children. , 2006, pp. 20
Volunteer Canada describes how and why families engage in service, examines strategies and barriers to implement family projects, and includes an extensive bibliography. , 2002, pp. 22
By the Center for Urban Policy and the Environment. An preliminary study on the benefits of volunteering to the families who engage in it. , 2003, pp. 28
By Volunteer Canada. This study surveyed both volunteer managers and individual volunteers who engage in family volunteering and reports on the results. , 2002, pp. 44

Join In (UK)'s innovative research into "the hidden value of sport volunteers, going beyond cost to measure the true value they create – through participation, wellbeing, trust and community."  The report has been published on Issu.com. 

, 2014, pp. 32
A study of recruitment by international relief and development organisations in the UK, by International Health Exchange and People in Aid , 1997, pp. 8

Search on "volunteer management" for a long list of free, downloadable publications and resources.

Extensive report -- identifying many resources -- by Jayne Cravens for the  ICT4EMPL Future Work project at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

, 2014, pp. 84
Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector, New Zealand , 2007, pp. 60
From the New Zealand Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector , 2008, pp. 61

Researched by UK consulting firm nfpSynergy, this free, 7-part research report covers: the political and social landscape for volunteering; volunteering trends over the last decade; harnessing volunteer motivations; the changing mechanics of volunteering; engaging the young, the old and the family to volunteer; how do we manage the 21st Century Volunteer? -- with conclusions and recommendations.

, 2015, pp. 91
The Volunteer Enterprise: Building Capacity for Civic Engagement - The National Human Services Assembly, seeking to advocate the findings of the 2004 Volunteer Management Capacity report. , 2006, pp. 28

Prepared by Innovations in Civic Participation. Looks at youth Conservation Corps programs.

, 2005, pp. 40
Harvard School of Public Health-MetLife Foundation Initiative on Retirement and Civic Engagement , 2004, pp. 162

By  Mai Moua, Ph.D. for the Minnesota Association for Volunteer Administration (MAVA). Results of a 3-year study of the attitudes of immigrants (especially  the Hmong, Latino, and Somali communities of Minnesota) about volunteering and those of organizations about recruiting these populations. 

, 2010, pp. 40
Allison Fine for the Case Foundation. Social Citizens BETA addresses the unique characteristics of Millennials, who have grown up in a digital era, and "are equipped with innovative tools and ideas for bringing about change. This is a paper intended to start a "larger conversation with these 'social citizens, to share new ideas and "challenge perceptions about their approaches to being engaged." , 2013, pp. 65

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the United Nations-declared "International Year of Volunteers," United Nations Volunteers (UNV) conducted an extensive research project to produce this unique overview of volunteering in 80 countries around the world. Sub-titled "Universal Values for Global Well-being," the report examines the important contributions of volunteers in diverse fields such as sustainable livelihoods, social inclusion, social cohesion and disaster risk reduction. By suggesting how volunteerism can be taken forward, the SWVR also provides an alternative vision of a better society.

Download chapter by chapter or the entire document.

, 2011, pp. 148

Produced by United Nations Volunteers, this new edition of their SWVR focuses on "Transforming Governance" through volunteer power, particularly in the developing world.  Important reading. Can be read online or downloaded as a PDF.

, 2015, pp. 132
By Nora McClintock for the Canadian Centre on Philanthropy. The manual "is primarily intended for those who are new to the field of volunteer resource management." , 2004, pp. 42

By Natasha Menon, Amanda Moore and Michael Sherraden, published by Center for Social Development/Global Service Institute.

, 2002, pp. 15

When newspapers in England reported of serious breaches of trust between volunteers and their organisations in 2009, Volunteering England was prompted to set up the Volunteer Rights Inquiry to begin to understand the nature and scope of the problems experienced by volunteers and identify suitable remedies. This Interim Report goes into detail about the findings of the intensive set of hearings held.  In 2014, a Final report of the Call to Action Progress Group following the Volunteer Rights Inquiry was produced by NCVO.

, 2010, pp. 32
By Corporate Citizenship, The City of London, UK. The benefits of corporate volunteering programs in education. , 2010, pp. 114
By Greg Hills and Adeeb Mahmud, FSG Social Impact Advisors. Site also offers a video on this subject. , 2007, pp. 44

There is lots of anecdotal evidence that volunteering has a positive impact on health but a 2008 research review commissioned by Volunteering England seeks to determine what impact it really has. Site has full report and 4 page summary.

, 2008, pp. 101

By Joanna Machin of the  Institute for Volunteering Research (UK) for the Voluntary Action Media Unit to identify research and information which address issues related to the image of volunteering and volunteers by the public and the media -- specific reference made to the images held by different social groups. 

, 2005, pp. 47

Informative report about the innovations of TimeBank in the UK to update volunteering. Discusses "legacy" volunteering desired from the London Olympics and the "Mind the Gap" project aimed at recruiting young people of different minorities.

, 2005, pp. 28
By American University's Center for Social Media about how an online youth civic culture, largely unnoticed by the general public, has taken root on the Internet and is fostering Generation Y's participation in U.S. politics and community affairs. , 2004, pp. 155
by Kathryn Montgomery, Barbara Gottlieb-Robles, and Gary O. Larson, a report from American University's Center for Social Media about how an online youth civic culture, largely unnoticed by the general public, has taken root on the Internet and is fostering Generation Y's participation in U.S. politics and community affairs , 2004, pp. 158

By Emily Hoban Kirby, Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, and Surbhi Godsay, from CIRCLE/Civic Youth.

, 2011, pp. 23
African-American Philanthropy: A Bibliography and Resource List

Excellent resources compiled by the Foundation Center.

Brookings Institute

Articles and reports about new directions in international corporate philanthropy, including employee volunteer programs. Search on keywords "corporate philanthropy" and "volunteering" to see complete list of resources.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy - Section on Volunteers

Volunteerism is one of the categories in The Chronicle's "Managing" section of their Web site.  They post solid articles on current issues, practical and philosophical.

CIRCLE

Research and information on community participation by youth from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). Free fact sheets, tools for practice, and more.

Civil Society section of Citizendium

Civil society is the "arena of uncoerced collective action around shared interests, purposes and values." This new wiki (2007) is being compiled by academic Roger A. Lohmann.

Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society

London-based independent research institute devoted to deepening public understanding of the legal, institutional and moral framework that makes a free and democratic society possible.

Community Development Policy (New Zealand)

NZ government site offering policy statements, reports,and other materials on volunteering as well as other community development,  including a study of Maori volunteering.

Corporation for National and Community Service Research and Policy Reports

Various reports and studies on volunteering in the US, especially on youth service and AmeriCorps.

CSV Resources and Downloads

CSV (Community Service Volunteers) is a respected UK charity with expertise in delivering volunteering and learning opportunities, and is committed to sharing expertise and resources for the benefit of volunteers, learners, policymakers, commissioners and programme developers alike. In this online resource library you'll find free reports, publications, project evaluations, factsheets, toolkits and more.

Digital Collections of IUPUI University Library

Archival material from the IUPUI University Library's Philanthropy Resources Online collection. Search keywords such as "volunteering," philanthropy," etc. Many journals from the 1960s-1990s have been digitized online here, so anyone looking for older material and historical archives can find treasures.

Diversity Links

The Minnesota Council on Foundations has compiled links to Web sites and resources for philanthropy by diverse communities and cultures, including African-Americans, American Indians, Asian/Pacific Island Americans, Latino/Hispanic Americans,Lesbians & Gays, the Disability Community, and others.

The European Civil Society Student Corner

Site created to make civil society and third sector research easily available to PhD candidates and other students in Europe.

Exploring Volunteering (blog)

By Patrick Daniels, UK-based volunteer and international activist. The blog's tag line: "Notes on thinking and research about the development of volunteering."

Giving and Volunteering in the Americas

From the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard University, this complete online journal issue contains more than 30 articles by various authors on some aspect of philanthropy, volunteering, corporate social responsibility, and more in Central and South American countries (particularly Brazil, Peru, and Mexico).

Growing to Greatness: The State of Service-Learning

Long-time advocate for service-learning, the National Youth Leadership Council has produced several detailed evaluation studies of the impact of student service, available as free downloads or for purchase in print.

Institute for Volunteering Research

Internationally-recognized, London-based leader in research truly focused on volunteers. See especially their Research Bulletins.

The Leir Institute Volunteer Management Library

This library in Israel run by the organization Yad Sarah comprises over 2,000 items in print and online that relate to volunteer management, most in English. They have started posting academic articles on volunteerism to CiteULike, linked here.

MEM-VOL Migrant and Ethnic Minority Volunteering

Reports from a trans-Europe research project from 2002-2006.

National Council on Citizenship

Chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1953, NCoC tracks, measures and promotes civic participation and engagement in partnership with other organizations, focusing on ways to enhance history and civics education, encourage national and community service, and promote greater participation in the political process. Site offers many reports relevant to volunteerism, including the annual Civic Health Index that measures a wide variety of civic indicators.

nfpSynergy

This UK consulting and research firm provides free -- and well-written -- reports on many aspects of trends in nonprofit management, online charity outreach, and volunteering. You must register your e-mail address to download PDFs.

Nonprofit Management Education: Current Offerings in University Based Programs

Seton Hall University maintains this site of educational opportunities in the US for nonprofit management, including courses in volunteer management.

Nonprofit News and Comment (blog)

A weekly news digest from the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard University surveys major newspapers and periodicals for important stories and links to a wide range of nonprofit news -- including volunteering as a designated category.

Nonprofits Canada

Site with research findings and reports on the voluntary sector in Canada, with many items on volunteering.

PACE - Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement

A learning community, not a funding community, of grantmakers and donors committed to strengthening democracy by using the power, influence and resources of philanthropy to open pathways to civic, democratic and community participation. PACE does not make grants or serve as a conduit for those seeking grants from PACE members.

Special Collection on Volunteerism

Regis University in Denver, Colorado has been amassing one of the field's largest online depositories " to collect, preserve, promote and encourage research and study in the field of volunteerism." Includes the Ivan Scheier Archive.

Summa de Voluntades (Spanish Bibliography)

En esta bibliografa sucinta irn apareciendo peridicamente las ms recientes publicaciones sobre voluntariado social en lengua espaola. Regularmente sealaremos, dentro de esa bibliografa, el libro de actualidad: un trabajo que, por razones diversas, pueda considerarse como el ms representativo del perodo que cubre la bibliografa y a la que dedicaremos una pequea resea.

Survey Measures of Youth Civic Engagement

CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) and their colleagues have developed and tested various measures of young adults’ “civic engagement” (including their political participation; their community service and local civic work; and their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values). These measures are available for anyone to use. 

Virtual Volunteering Wiki

Opened in 2014 by Jayne Cravens and Susan J. Ellis as a virtual appendix to their new book, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook. The site is being kept up to date with news items, research papers, and other current information about online service.

Volunteer Now (formerly Volunteer Development Agency - Northern Ireland)

Reasearch studies and reports developed in Northern Ireland, available for free download as PDFs.

Volunteer and Service Enquiry Southern Africa (VOSESA)

VOSESA was founded in Johannesburg, South Africa by an Irish initiative to research and publish on the latest developments in service policy and programs, and on the impact of service on democratic values, citizenship and socio-economic development.   Service Enquiry was a series of publications published from 2008 to 2013, when funding ended for the project. Free downloads of past issues remain in English and Spanish on the Web site.

Volunteering in America

Interactive site from the Corporation for National and Community Service, offering six years of data on volunteering, rankings of states and cities, and volunteer trends and demographic information for every state and 162 large and mid-sized cities.

Volunteers and Volunteering Research Collection

Resources developed from projects funded by the Canada Volunteerism Initiative'sKnowledge Development Centre (2002 - 2007) and the International Year of Volunteers Research Program (2001 - 2002). Site provided by Imagine Canada.

World Leisure Organization Commission on Volunteerism

A site about research on volunteering as a major form of leisure activity, the dissemination of the knowledge generated by such research, and the development of an expanding role of volunteerism as leisure and in leisure programs and services. Site also explains: An important assumption in this mandate, which springs from the leisure perspective, is that volunteering, among things, is primarily a creative, society-building activity. However, it loses this quality when it becomes merely a money-saving strategy imposed upon an altruistic citizenry by either the public or the private sector.

Linked with The Serious Leisure Perspective site.

World Volunteer Web

As a follow up to the International Year of Volunteers 2001, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) has created a comprehensive Web site offering continuing news of worldwide volunteer efforts, including government actions, research reports, and links to international volunteer resources.

World Volunteer Web -- International Research Studies

Extensive -- and intriguing -- list of studies on volunteerism in dozens of countries around the world, compiled by this site run through United Nations Volunteers.

Print and e-Books in Our Store

Volunteering and the Test of Time

Drawing together a selection of articles, this book illuminates the ways that the political and social context in which volunteering operates has changed from the 1990s to the present.

Book cover

A very timely analysis of a major challenge facing nonprofits today - how to properly assess social impacts and the important contributions of volunteers.

A 70-minute video presentation by Dr. Bernadette Sanchez made in 2007 for the Extension Center for Youth Development at the University of Minnesota. An overview of research about the effects of gender, age, ethnicity and culture on mentoring. The Web page also includes 3 downloadable PDFs with supporting information.

No tips have been recorded yet.

Last Updated: July 20, 2015