One in four Americans have volunteered through an organization, and three in five Americans have helped out a neighbor. Despite its popularity,  few studies examine how volunteer recruitment and management practices expand and strengthen volunteering. Fewer studies on volunteerism take place in the United States. AmeriCorps promotes volunteerism, conducts and funds research, and engages more than five million Americans through volunteer service with AmeriCorps programs such as AmeriCorps Seniors, VISTA, and Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF). As part of the Life Cycle Evaluation project, AmeriCorps Research and Evaluation commissioned ICF International to conduct a comprehensive literature review of volunteer recruitment and management practices over an eleven-year time period (2010-present). 

The goal of this literature review is to update the knowledge and evidence base of volunteer management practices.

Research Questions:
The research questions are:

  • What do the current literature and research tell us about volunteer management models/volunteer programs and the evidence used to support them? 
    1. What are volunteer management models (including recruitment,  support, and retention), and what are the characteristics and components of these models? 
    2. What are the different volunteer recruitment strategies? What evidence or outcomes on volunteers support these strategies? 
    3. What are the different volunteer management, support, and retention strategies? What evidence or outcomes on volunteers support these strategies? 

The literature review found:

  • Models of volunteer management were used in practice and research to understand how volunteer management strategies impact volunteer outcomes
  • Volunteer management strategies are categorized into two separate categories: 
    1. Strategies pertaining to volunteer recruitment
    2. Strategies pertaining to volunteer retention

For more information, download the:

Full Report

Full report

Further information

Literature Review
Implementing Organization
AmeriCorps Office of Research and Evaluation Commissioned Report
AmeriCorps Program(s)
Volunteer Generation Fund
Focus Population(s)/Community(s)
Outcome Category
Disaster assistance provided
Financial literacy
School readiness
K-12 success
Post-secondary educational support
Energy efficiency
At-risk ecosystems
Awareness of environmental issues
Green jobs
Aging in place
Obesity and food
Access to care
Veterans and military families served
Benefit to national service members/volunteers
Nonprofit development
Improving AmeriCorps
Study Type(s)
Case Study or Descriptive
Study Design(s)
ICF International
Published Year