Individual- and Community-Level Factors Associated With Voluntary Participation

Marcus M. Lam, Nathan J. Grasse, Lindsey M. McDougle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Voluntary participation in local groups or organizations varies by individual and across communities. Few studies examine the influence of structural resources on voluntary participation, with prior studies often considering it a single, binary action. Drawing from three data sources, we examined the extent to which individual-level and community-level factors—including the presence of nonprofit organizations—were associated with voluntary participation. We model participation as two distinct actions and estimate the likelihood of respondents participating in one organization or group compared with the likelihood of participating in multiple organizations or groups. We found individual characteristics such as homeownership, marriage, and better health were associated with participation in only one group or organization. Identifying as White, having some college education, more children per household, and church attendance were positively associated with participating in one group or organization and subsequent participation. At the community level, nonprofit density was positively associated with voluntary participation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


  • hurdle model
  • individual characteristics
  • neighborhood characteristics
  • nonprofit density
  • poverty
  • voluntary participation


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