Date of Conferral





Human Services


Shari Jorissen


Animal welfare organizations depend on volunteers to continue to take care of animals and rehome them. Animal overpopulation is estimated at 70 million animals and without enough volunteers to help socialize them, they can be unadoptable and subject to euthanasia. The problem addressed through this study was volunteer turnover in animal welfare organizations and resulting negative impacts on animal welfare. Researchers have examined person-organization fit related to employee retention in for-profit environments but not the experience of volunteer coordinators in animal welfare organizations. The purpose of this general qualitative study was to examine practices and experiences of volunteer coordinators to motivate, personalize experiences, and retain volunteers in animal welfare organizations. Eight participants were interviewed via semi-structured interviews and data were interpreted through the lens of person-organization fit theory. Each question was analyzed with holistic coding as well as in vivo coding. Results of the analysis indicated that when volunteer coordinators aligned volunteer interests with tasks they performed, personalized experiences through task alignment, communication, and recognized volunteers’ efforts, volunteers were more motivated and more likely to remain in their role long-term. If values were not aligned and training was not adequately provided, volunteers were less motivated to remain with the organization. Findings may provide information to volunteer coordinators regarding the importance of designing and employing a structured training program that determines the values fit and outlines expectations of the volunteer, to avoid dissatisfaction and burnout among volunteers and increase retention.