Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Human Services

Advisor

Sandra Harris

Abstract

Research has shown that long-term volunteer retention is critical for sustaining the viability of youth mentoring programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Data from recent studies have indicated that volunteers must continue their service for at least 1 year in to have a sustainable effect on the mentee. Results from prior studies have indicated that the support provided by the agency to the volunteer can predict volunteer retention. However, a gap in current literature exists regarding the effect of support communication on volunteer retention. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study was to assess the relationship between organizational support, communication, and retention of volunteers in the BBBS agency. The VPM was developed to explain the life cycle of volunteerism and was the theoretical framework for this study. The primary research question examined how well the variables related to organizational support communication predict the likelihood of volunteer retention. This study used secondary data collected by BBBS as part of the support communication process they provide to their volunteers. Results from a logistic regression analysis revealed that the amount of face-to-face contact and the number of match support specialists positively predicted volunteer retention of at least 1 year. Results from this study can contribute to social change by informing best practices on the types of support communication for long-term volunteer retention. Specifically, leaders and managers of volunteer agencies should develop policies and procedures that maximize the amount of face-to-face communication provided to volunteers from the agency.