Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

John Burnight


Voluntarism--Public opinion; Generation Y--United States--Attitudes;


For the 1.9 million nonprofit organizations in the United States, engaging potential volunteers in an efficient way is critical to their success. As Baby Boomers retire, the Millennial generation is expected to populate an ever-growing percentage of the volunteer workforce. The Millennial population totals nearly 80 million in the United States alone. The current body of research has been focused primarily on general attitudes of Millennials in regards to volunteering, philanthropy, and corporate social responsibility. There has been very little analysis on the attitudes of Millennials based on their demographic information, especially their education level. Less than a third of Millennials hold a bachelor’s degree, and those without a college education are less than half as likely to volunteer (16.4% vs 39.4%) as their college educated peers. In this paper, I argue that there are many possible factors related to obtaining a college education that may affect a Millennials’ volunteer habits, including income disparity based on education level, the civic component of college education, and self-reporting errors. I further assert that to understand whether or not there is a causal relationship between college education and higher volunteer rates, these possible factors must be further researched.

Keywords: Millennials, volunteering, volunteer engagement, nonprofit, college education

Year of Submission



Department of Philosophy and World Religions

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (28 pages)



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