Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Nonprofit Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Abbi Haggerty


The volunteer landscape across the country shows a demonstrable need for volunteers to help nonprofit organizations achieve their missions. For many, this need is undermined by constant volunteer turnover and low retention rates. The purpose of this paper is to examine any relationship between transformational leadership and volunteer retention. The information found indicates such a relationship exists and should be the topic of further research. In order to determine the impact organizations made on volunteers, this study used online, anonymous surveys distributed to volunteers. Volunteers responded in accordance with their experiences at both their longest and shortest held volunteer positions. Respondents also indicated the importance of seven different components of known volunteer retention as they relate to them.

Survey data was gathered and presented in accordance with the responses to best answer the research questions. Regarding the importance of known retention factors, personal and emotional growth was the most common trait of importance while having a voice in the organization was the least valued trait. While satisfaction in volunteering and feeling appreciated by the organization were both highly valued, respondents felt that organizations investing in their growth was the most important factor. Having a voice in the organization was by far the least valued trait by a wide margin. This study, while not indicative of causation, does add to the existing research that suggests leadership by organizations has an impact on the retention rates of volunteers. It indicates an opportunity for further research to be done in this field and provides information for program leaders to begin to shape their programs to best impact the needs of its volunteers.