The people behind the scenes: Episodic volunteering at fundraising events

Ram Cnaan, Daniel Choi*, Chulhee Kang, Jihyeon Song, Michal Almog-Bar, Georg von Schnurbein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Nonprofit organizations (NPOs) have become increasingly dependent on episodic volunteers (EVs), those that would help carry out an event with little training and expectation to commit to future events. Despite its importance to the survival of NPOs, the use of EVs with respect to fundraising has received little research focus. Furthermore, none of the existing studies identified examined how fundraising EVs differ from other EVs. This study seeks to contribute to our understanding of fundraising EVs using a global perspective. Data were generated using surveys distributed in seven countries, tallying more than 4,000 respondents. Variables included demographic characteristics, previous donation and volunteer history, motives, mode of volunteering, and overall experience. The data were analyzed by applying between-group (logistic regression on participation) and within-group analysis (ordered logistic regression on willingness to participate in the future). Data were further analyzed by examining differences by country. We found that country, gender, religion, income, employment, history of donations, mode of volunteering, and several motives, both intrinsic and extrinsic, were significant in the logistic regression analysis of participation in fundraising episodic volunteering. The ordered logistic analysis unexpectedly found that the only predictors to foster a willingness to engage again were the responsiveness of the event team and a desire to fulfill spiritual satisfaction. In recruiting and selecting EVs for fundraising events, NPOs should consider previous or current donors and those with regular volunteering experience and they should market volunteer opportunities towards those in search of spiritual fulfillment and meaning. Moreover, NPOs should prioritize quick and clear communication with fundraising EVs in order to foster a willingness to volunteer again. Lastly, NPOs should regularly assess for country-specific factors and contexts that may affect episodic volunteering in fundraising events. Our paper illustrates who fundraising EVs are, their motives, how they choose to volunteer, and what contributes to their willingness to volunteer again. Given the limited research on fundraising EVs, this study serves to help lay the foundation of research for this unique subgroup. Our aim was to not only address the dearth of literature but serve as a springboard for future research on fundraising EVs.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere1794
JournalJournal of Philanthropy and Marketing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • episodic volunteering
  • fundraising events
  • motives
  • volunteer retention


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