Date of Award

Winter 1-8-2016

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Emily Graybill, PhD, NCSP

Second Advisor

Kim R. Ramsey-White, PhD, MPH


Volunteerism is a necessary component of most successful nonprofit organizations. Building a successful volunteer program requires understanding the benefits of volunteerism, how organizations can best serve their volunteers, and how to sustain an engaged volunteer base. The purpose of this needs assessment was to determine staff’s volunteer needs and to develop a plan to increase volunteer engagement and retention. A secondary data analysis of survey results collected of paid staff (n = 34) from a mid-size Community Based Organization was conducted to assess volunteer needs. The survey measured (1) the number of staff with active volunteers and volunteer needs; (2) how staff foresee making use of volunteers; and (3) ways to improve the volunteer program. The results suggested that staff perceived the volunteer program to be useful but desired greater access to volunteers. Recommendations for cost-effective solutions to increasing volunteer participation and engagement were made.