Volunteer motivations and satisfaction in a tutoring program: Implications for recruitment and retention

Kimberly Gonzalez, Pace University


The present study employed a functional approach to assess the motivations of tutors volunteering at a non-profit tutoring program. Based on the work of Clary et al. (1998), the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) was used to differentiate between six different functions or motivations; values, understanding, social, career, protective and enhancement. A sample of 91 volunteer tutors from the tutoring program completed this two-part study. The first data collection gathered demographic information and identified volunteer motivations via the VFI. The second data collection gauged tutors' perceptions of volunteer benefits, satisfaction, commitment and organizational support. Various statistical analyses, including regression models and analyses of variances (ANOVAs), were conducted to assess volunteer motivations, as well as other important variables related to volunteer recruitment and retention. The results revealed the values motivation as the most salient reason for volunteering to tutor, followed by understanding and enhancement. In terms of length of service, higher levels of the career and social motivations were indicative of shorter periods of volunteer service. For age, younger volunteers exhibited higher levels of the career and understanding motivations. For all the motivations, except protective, volunteers were more satisfied when they were highly motivated by a motivation and received high corresponding benefits compared to when they received low corresponding benefits, or when they were just not motivated by a motivation regardless of the amount of corresponding benefits they received. Also, volunteers that were more satisfied showed greater intentions to continue volunteering in the future. Exploratory analyses showed that perceptions of organizational support had some impact on the understanding, career, protective and enhancement motivations. Concerning volunteer experience, the values motivation had a slight effect on present volunteer experience and an interaction between present and past/general volunteer experience. Overall, these findings have important implications in developing strategies to improve volunteer recruitment and retention.

Subject Area

Behavioral psychology|Social psychology|School administration|Occupational psychology

Recommended Citation

Gonzalez, Kimberly, "Volunteer motivations and satisfaction in a tutoring program: Implications for recruitment and retention" (2009). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3395651.



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