Fit Themes in Volunteering: How Do Volunteers Perceive Person–Environment Fit?

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Ahead of Print. Worldwide, millions of people volunteer for nonprofit organizations. These organizations heavily depend on volunteers, such that successfully retaining them represents an indispensable task, as well as one that might benefit from the application of fit theory. The complex mechanisms that shape volunteers’ fit throughout their volunteering experiences in the nonprofit environment have been scarcely analyzed though, and fit research has only selectively assessed volunteer experiences. Therefore, the current study investigates how volunteers perceive person–environment fit using a qualitative research design that relies on narrative interviews. Eight service-related and daily-life–related fit themes emerge at the organizational, collaborational, individual, and external levels. These identified fit themes help clarify how volunteers relate distinctly to the environments established by the organizations for which they volunteer. In addition to extending research on volunteering experience, this qualitative analysis of perceived fit among volunteers enriches fit theory, by contextualizing the concept of fit for volunteers.

Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly |  

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