Community-based volunteer organizations are critical to natural resource management in the United States. However, due to volunteer involvement, these organizations struggle with collective action problems: coping with free riding, solving commitment problems, arranging for the supply of new institutions, and monitoring individual compliance with sets of rules. In this study, we explore how volunteer organizations can overcome these challenges. To explore how they overcome these challenges, we use the Institutional Analysis and Development framework and the Institutional Design Principles. These frameworks help us understand the impact of natural resource conditions, community attributes, and the rules in use impact volunteer organizations. For this research, we focused on lake organizations in Wisconsin. We collected our data through semi-structured interviews with thirty-one lake organizations and public data. The data were analyzed using constant comparison and linear regression, followed by qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). We reinforce the importance of considering the system holistically when managing a resource the natural resource conditions, the community attributes, and the rules in use. Our study shows the importance of graduated sanctions and low-cost conflict resolution on social-ecological system outcomes. Volunteer-based resource management are an effective way to tailor management strategies to the natural resource condition and the community attributes.
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