Are all my volunteers here to help out? Clustering event volunteers by their motivations

Lockstone-Binney, Leonie and Holmes, Kirsten and Smith, Karen and Baum, Tom and Storer, Christine (2015) Are all my volunteers here to help out? Clustering event volunteers by their motivations. Event Management, 19 (4). pp. 461-477. ISSN 1525-9951 (

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Posed as a question that an event organizer might contemplate in terms of how best to attract and retain event volunteers, this study adds to the event volunteering literature by cluster analyzing volunteers sampled at four sports events using items from the Special Event Volunteer Motivation Scale (SEVMS). The 28 items were first subjected to Exploratory Factor Analysis resulting in four factors (Solidary, Purposive, External Traditions/Commitments, and Spare Time), followed by a two-step clustering procedure and a series of post hoc tests to describe and validate the clusters. As a result of this procedure, three distinct clusters were formed: the Altruists, Socials, and Indifferents. The Altruists and Socials were primarily driven by two distinct internal factors, which respectively represented the Purposive and Solidary factors. The Indifferents appeared to be pushed into volunteering by external forces, rather than intrinsic motivations. Validation revealed that the Indifferents were significantly less satisfied with their volunteer experience than the other two clusters and were also less likely to volunteer in the future. Across the four events sampled, there were distinct patterns of cluster representation, with one event in particular substantially overrepresented by the more negatively inclined Indifferents. The management and research implications of these findings are discussed.