Linking collegiate service‐learning to future volunteerism: Implications for nonprofit organizations

University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
Nonprofit Management and Leadership (Impact Factor: 0.58). 09/2008; 19(1):3 - 26. DOI: 10.1002/nml.202

ABSTRACT One of the biggest challenges facing nonprofits is attracting and retaining volunteers to help deliver their programs. One way that colleges and universities are attempting to educate students on the importance of community issues and to graduate “good citizens” is through service-learning (S-L) programs. Although many scholars argue that collegiate S-L programs will increase the extent to which students volunteer following graduation (for example, Astin, Sax, and Avalos, 1999; Misa, Anderson, and Yamamura, 2005), more empirical research has been called for to examine this relationship. This article proposes three predictors of future volunteerism for alumni of a collegiate S-L experience: the amount of personal development experienced during the S-L project, the perceived value of the S-L project to the community organization, and the level of volunteerism prior to participation in an S-L project. Results showed significant effects of all the proposed predictors on postgraduation volunteering. Our findings have implications for nonprofit managers charged with maintaining a sufficient level of volunteers to provide their community services as well as individuals who are responsible for organizing S-L programs. These managerial implications and directions for future S-L research are discussed.