Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type

Professional Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Service


College of Professional Studies


The nonprofit sector is crucial for a vital economy, and volunteers are at the core of many of these organizations. Research has shown many different factors related to nonprofit organization success, including volunteer management, recruitment, and retention techniques. This study adds to the current literature by investigating the American Cancer Society Relay For Life Advisory Team and explores what factors have led to the retention of these high-level volunteers, what skill-based trainings have they received throughout their volunteer career with the American Cancer Society, and what sentiment do the volunteers have toward receiving spokesperson training, facilitation training, and coaching training. Using a single, descriptive, instrumental case study design, an open-ended response questionnaire was disseminated to 31 current Relay Advisory Team volunteers. Through using coding analysis, four major themes were identified from the responses to the question “why did you begin to volunteer for the American Cancer Society?: having a personal connection to cancer; someone asked them to get involved; participants were looking for a way to give back and make a difference; and participants were looking for a sense of community and belonging. In analyzing the question “why do you continue to volunteer for the American Cancer Society?” three major themes were identified: the desire of a cure for cancer to be found, participants felt that the American Cancer Society is a reputable organization, and a belief in the mission of the American Cancer Society. Lastly, the volunteers had received a range of trainings in the past, and had a positive sentiment toward receiving spokesperson, coaching, and facilitation trainings in the future. The finding of this study can be used to inform American Cancer Society volunteer recruitment and retention techniques.