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Volunteers in sport are indispensable, but there is a dearth of systematic research in volunteer retention. The focus of this study was to investigate three different volunteer-retention models incorporating person–task fit (P–T fit), person–organization fit (P–O fit), managerial treatment (MT), empowerment, and intention to continue volunteering. Using structural equation modeling, data from 515 volunteers in the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) were compared across a fully mediated model, a partially mediated model, and a direct-effects model. The results of the fully mediated model, in which empowerment mediated the relationship between P–T fit, P–O fit, MT, and intention to continue volunteering, fit well and better than the other two models. P–T fit, P–O fit, and MT jointly explained 46.8% of variance in empowerment, and empowerment explained 13.5% of variance in intention to continue. Volunteer organizations need to focus on empowering their volunteers through the fit of the volunteer to the task, organization, and appropriate managerial treatment.
Kim and Trail are with the Dept. of Tourism, Recreation, and Sport Management, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611. Chelladurai is with the Sport and Exercise Management Program, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210.