The Implications of Sex Differences on Volunteer Preferences

  • Walter WymerEmail author
Original Paper


This study explores the relationship between sex differences and preferences for volunteer roles, organizations, and supervision. A series of hypotheses were developed from prior research on sex differences from the fields of biology, neuroscience, and psychology to determine whether such preferences can be predicted. An online survey panel of over 700 individuals comprised the sample. Many of the hypotheses were supported. Implications of the findings on future research and on volunteer recruitment and retention are discussed.


Volunteering Gender differences Sex differences Volunteer preferences 


Cette étude explore les relations qui existent entre les différences de sexe et les préférences concernant les rôles de bénévolat, les organisations et la supervision. Une série d’hypothèses a émergé d’une étude précédente concernant les différences de sexe dans les domaines de la biologie, des neurosciences et de la psychologie, menée afin de déterminer si de telles préférences peuvent être prédites. L’enquête en ligne a été faite auprès d’un échantillon de 700 individus. Nombre de ces hypothèses ont été vérifiées. Nous discutons des conséquences de ces découvertes sur les études à venir ainsi que sur le recrutement et la fidélité des bénévoles.


Diese Studie untersucht die Beziehung zwischen der Geschlechtszugehörigkeit und den Präferenzen hinsichtlich ehrenamtlicher Funktionen, Organisationen und Aufsichtsfunktionen. Beruhend auf früheren Forschungen zu geschlechtspezifischen Unterschieden in den Bereichen Biologie, Neurowissenschaft und Psychologie wurde eine Reihe von Hypothesen entwickelt, um zu ermitteln, ob derartige Präferenzen vorausgesagt werden können. Eine Online-Befragung von über 700 Personen diente als Probe. Viele der Hypothesen bestätigten sich. Implikationen der Ergebnisse für zukünftige Forschungen und die Einstellung sowie Erhaltung ehrenamtlicher Mitarbeiter werden diskutiert.


En el presente estudio se analiza la relación existente entre el sexo y las preferencias por algunas funciones, organizaciones y supervisión de voluntariado. Anteriores estudios formularon una serie de hipótesis sobre las diferencias de sexo en los campos de la biología, la neurociencia y la psicología, con el fin de determinar si era posible predecir este tipo de preferencias. En la muestra se utilizaron 700 personas que participaron en una encuesta en línea y muchas de las hipótesis se confirmaron. Se debaten asimismo las implicaciones de los resultados sobre las futuras investigaciones y sobre el reclutamiento y la retención de voluntarios.



This study was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


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© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The John's Hopkins University 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ManagementUniversity of LethbridgeLethbridgeCanada

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