Consumer Satisfaction and the Marketing of Voluntarism: The Case of Appalachian Mountain Housing


  • Newell D. Wright Western Carolina University
  • Val Larsen Northeast Missouri State University
  • Roger Higgs Western Carolina University


Using ethnographic methodologies, this study examines Appalachian Mountain Housing, a volunteer agency that builds inexpensive houses for low income consumers, to gain insights into volunteer recruitment and retention. The volunteers in this study experienced a great deal of personal satisfaction as they participated in
building homes for others. But like commercial organizations, charities must take care to fulfill expectations they raise in their promotional materials and recruitment meetings. As in business, so in philanthropy, over promising can increase dissatisfaction and reduce long-term commitment to the organization. One key step in fulfilling expectations is an accurate analysis of the various functions the organization must perform and a corresponding division of labor. Fund raising, in particular, may require special aptitudes and a special set of initial expectations in the volunteers who will be expected to carry out this activity. Since they rely entirely on volunteer labor, charitable organizations must also make a concerted effort to target and recruit volunteers who can successfully manage the various functions that must be performed in the organization. The satisfaction of the mass of volunteers will frequently depend on the skill with which the organization's leadership orchestrates the various charitable activities.




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