Social Work and Volunteerism: Exploring Factors That Influence Volunteer Commitment

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Institution Granting Degree

University of South Carolina

Cedarville University School or Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Terry A. Wolfer


Social work, volunteerism


This study was the first in a series of studies leading to the eventual testing and development of a multidimensional model of understanding volunteerism. The purpose of the present study was to explore factors that influence volunteer commitment. A crosssectional panel design and multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) examined which motivational factors, volunteer job satisfaction factors, and demographic variables significantly influenced volunteer commitment. Findings from a sample of 731 participants from the South Carolina Lions Club, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs of South Carolina, and Gamma Nu Omega—the Columbia graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, indicated that volunteer commitment was a complex construct that was influenced by a multitude of factors. The results supported the view of volunteering as a complex social and behavioral phenomenon and suggested that current social work practice with volunteers may be based on incomplete and inaccurate information. Specific implications for future research and social work education, concludes this study.