Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Investigating Differences in Volunteer Administrator Challenges and Management Practices

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patrick D. Pauken

Second Advisor

Christy Galletta Horner

Third Advisor

Paul A. Johnson (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Jeffrey L. Brudney (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Virginia Dubasik (Other)


Effective volunteer administrators may impact and improve the volunteer experience. But the experience and challenges volunteer administrators face may differ depending on the group they oversee. Overseeing volunteers serving with animals may be different than leading volunteers in a hospital. Very few studies have compared volunteer administrator groups. Hager and Brudney (2004) considered various differences in nonprofits utilizing volunteers, including group type. Yet, very few studies have explored this topic since then.

The present study utilizes questionnaire items from Hager and Brudney’s (2004) study to consider whether the particular group an administrator is connected with impacts the challenges they face and the extent to which administrators from different groups apply common management practices.

This study used a non-experimental, cross-sectional, correlational research design utilizing a questionnaire to collect data through convenience sampling. There were 460 responses used in data analysis. A multivariate analysis of variance was conducted to determine if group type impacted volunteer administrator challenges and the level of application of management practices. Groups were examined according to National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities - Core Codes (NTEE-CC).

The results of the study suggested that group type did impact the challenges volunteer administrators faced and the level of application of management practices. An analysis of variance was conducted (ANOVA) to determine which groups differed. Group differences were identified in 5 of 10 challenges and 6 of 9 management practices. Findings from the present study were very similar to Hager and Brudney’s (2004) study. Findings help confirm some universal challenges like recruitment continue to impact volunteer administrators. However, differences between groups encourage a more contingent approach should be taken when considering the most effective management practices for each context. The Ratchet Model (Brudney & Sink, 2017) was suggested as a practical application, combining both universal and contingent practices.