Building a legacy of volunteers through servant leadership: A cause-related sporting event

Denise Linda Parris, Jon Welty Peachey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores the leadership style of the founder of a cause-related sporting event and investigates the effects of this style on motivating volunteers. The National Kidney Foundation Surf Festival, established more than twenty-five years ago to benefit people with kidney disease, was selected as an extreme case because of the event's longevity and success. Data were collected through semi-structured personal interviews, document analysis, and personal observation. Results indicated that the founder is a servant leader. Three key themes of servant leadership, and its influence on volunteer motivation, emerged from the data: generating a shared vision dedicated to helping others, building a caring and loving community, and creating the freedom and resources for followers to become servants themselves. Our findings also indicated that the spiritual and moral tenets of servant leadership are applicable to secular nonprofit organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-276
Number of pages18
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Motivation
  • Nonprofit leadership
  • Nonprofit management
  • Volunteers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Building a legacy of volunteers through servant leadership: A cause-related sporting event'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this