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date: 03 December 2022



  • Dennis L. PooleDennis L. PooleDennis Poole is Professor and Past Dean in the College of Social Work at The University of South Carolina. He is also Senior Fellow at the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at The University of Texas-Austin. Dr. Poole earned a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a M.S.W. degree with a specialization in community development at West Virginia University. His publications include six books and some 60 peer-reviewed journal articles, books chapters, and essays, chiefly on nonprofit management, community engagement, social innovation, and transnational civil society in Latin America. As Senior Fellow at the RGK Center, Dr. Poole conducts joint research on nonprofit capacity for community engagement, volunteer leadership, and sustainability. He is co-authoring a book with Dr. Sarah Jane Rehnborg on Six Habits of Highly Effective Not-for-Profits.


Voluntarism can be interpreted at the levels of values, structure, and ideology. In Western society, voluntarism rests heavily on secular and religious values originating in both Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions. Today the voluntary sector in the United States can be divided into five main types: social support networks, grassroots associations, nonprofit organizations, human service agencies, and private foundations. At the level of ideology, voluntarism can be interpreted as “civil society.”


  • Ethics and Values
  • Religion and Spirituality

Updated in this version

Statistics on voluntarism through nonprofit organizations updated Discussion on nonprofit sustainability in the fiscal wringer between mandatory and discretionary spending cutbacks added. Expanded the section 'Globalization’. References updated

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