Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version

April 1986


Published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 15 (1986), pp. 35–44; doi 10.1177/089976408601500405. Copyright © 1986 Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action. Published by Sage Publications, Inc. Used by permission.


By focusing on membership in voluntary associations in general, the question of whether correlates of affiliation vary by organizational type tends to have been neglected. This is a significant omission from the standpoint of describing the characteristics of “joiners.” Additionally, most of what we know about the reasons for belonging has been inferred from observations of who joins. In this study, nine frequently identified correlates of voluntary association membership were examined in relation to five different types of organizations. Only two, education and race, were found to be related to all types. Thus, results indicate that affiliation is not a unidimensional process and memberships in different types of associations are not interchangeable.

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