The following is an excerpt from “More about Generosity: An Addendum to the Generosity, Social Psychology and Philanthropy Literature Reviews,” (University of Notre Dame, July 7, 2009).
Boezeman, Edwin J., and Namoi Ellemers. 2008. “Volunteer recruitment: The role of organizational support and anticipated respect in non-volunteers’ attraction to charitable volunteer organizations. Journal of Applied Psychology 93(5):1013-1026.
In 3 experiments the authors examined how specific characteristics of charitable volunteer organizations contribute to the recruitment of new volunteers. In line with predictions, Study 1 revealed that providing non-volunteers with information about organizational support induced anticipated feelings of respect, which subsequently enhanced their attraction to the volunteer organization. However, information about the current success of the volunteer organization did not affect anticipated pride (as among those who seek paid employment) and in fact caused potential volunteers to perceive the organization as being in less need for additional volunteers. Study 2 further showed that information about support from the volunteer organization is a more relevant source of anticipated respect and organizational attraction than support from co-volunteers. Study 3 finally showed that information about task and emotional support for volunteers contributes to anticipated respect and organizational attractiveness and that this increases the actual willingness of non-volunteers to participate in the volunteer organization. Interventions aimed at attracting volunteers and avenues for further research are discussed.
Boz, Ismet, and Serap Palaz. 2007. “Factors influencing the motivation of Turkey’s community volunteers.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 36(4):643-661.
Although Turkish society has traditionally valued volunteering, it has not fully utilized the potential of such contributions. This is because the country lacks professional volunteer organizations, and limited research has evaluated Turkish volunteers. The main aims of the current study were to describe the personal characteristics of Turkey’s community volunteers and to determine the influence of various motivational factors on their decision to serve in the Community Volunteer Foundation. The participants were a randomly selected sample of 175 community volunteers from different regions of Turkey. Findings showed that the average community volunteer was a 22-year-old, male college student pursuing a career in engineering, economics, or business. The most important motivational factors for volunteering were altruism, affiliation, and personal improvement (in that order). Completing an orientation course before working as a volunteer was considered useful. Recognition, by contrast, was not considered to be a vital factor.
Caldwell, Steven D., Steven Farmer, and Donald B. Fedor. 2008. “The influence of age on volunteer contributions in a non-profit organization.” Journal of Organizational Behavior 29(3):311-333.
This study examines the role of chronological age and age diversity in relation to the effects of organizational influences on the contributions of 458 volunteers in 74 geographically dispersed teams of a large nonprofit organization. The results indicate that the quality of member selection has a greater positive influence on in-role performance for older rather than younger volunteers that the quality of training for group members has a greater positive influence on in-role performance for volunteers who are less dissimilar in age from others in the group, and that the positive effects of chronological age on helping behaviors depend on the mean age of the group such that it is stronger for groups with older age means. The findings are discussed along with their practical implications.
Caputo, Richard K. 2008. “Religious capital and intergenerational transmission of volunteering as correlates of civic engagement. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.”
Using a subsample of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97), this study (N = 2,471) provides evidence in support of social capital and socialization theories. Intergenerational transmission of civic engagement activities was found to occur through mechanisms such as parental religiosity and voluntarism. Using multinomial logistic regression analysis, correlates of four types of civic engagement were examined: mixed motivation voluntarism (voluntary participation in activist and nonactivist activities, n = 401), exclusively activist (n = 109), exclusive voluntarism (n = 652), and as the referent non–civic minded (no voluntary participation in either activist or nonactivist activities, n = 1,309). Parental voluntarism, socialization, religious participation, education, and presence of children were found to be robust predictors of mixed motivation voluntarism; parental devotion, presence of children, and race/ethnicity, of exclusive activism; and parental religious affiliation and fundamentalism, socialization, and religious participation, self-perceived sense of trustfulness, presence of children, and race/ethnicity of exclusive voluntarism.
Clerkin, Richard M., Sharon R. Paynter, and Jamie Kathleen Taylor. 2008. “Public service motivation in undergraduate giving and volunteering decisions.” American Review of Public Administration. Sage Publications. Online First. <http://arp.sagepub.com/cgi/rapidpdf/0275074008327512v1>.
Most public service motivation (PSM) research compares government and business employees. This article fits into an emerging body of research that links PSM to volunteer activity. PSM is a needs-based approach to motivation. People may sate this need in ways other than direct government service. In this article, the authors investigate the relationship between PSM and charitable decisions. They surveyed undergraduate students at North Carolina State University using Perry’s PSM instrument and antecedent questions. To further investigate students’ motivations toward public service, they asked an additional series of questions focused on volunteering and donating choices. The authors find that students with higher levels of PSM are more likely to choose to engage in charitable activity. Individual characteristics such as family income, political identity, sex, religiosity, family socialization, and high school volunteering experiences are also significantly related to the choices students make about engaging in charitable activities.
Dolnicar, Sara, and Melanie Randle. 2007. “What motivates which volunteers? Psychographic heterogeneity among volunteers in Australia.” Voluntas 18(2):135-155.
Six psychographic segments of volunteers in Australia are constructed on the basis of their volunteering motivations. The resulting segments include “classic volunteers,” whose motivations are threefold: doing something worthwhile; personal satisfaction; and helping others. “Dedicated volunteers” perceive each one of the motives for volunteering as relevant, while “personally involved volunteers” donate time because of someone they know in the organization, most likely their child. “Volunteers for personal satisfaction” and “altruists” primarily wish to help others, and finally, “niche volunteers” typically have fewer and more specific drivers motivating them to donate time, for example, to gain work experience. The segments are externally validated and demonstrate significantly different socio-demographic profiles. Consequently, it seems that motivation-based data-driven market segmentation represents a useful way of gaining insight into heterogeneity amongst volunteers. Such insight can be used by volunteering organizations to more effectively target segments with customized messages.
Einolf, Christopher J. 2009. “Will the Boomers volunteer during retirement? Comparing the Baby Boom, silent, and long civic cohorts.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 38(2):181-199.
Data from the 1995 and 2005 waves of the Midlife in the United States panel study were used to compare rates of volunteering among the baby boomers with earlier cohorts and to predict boomers’ future volunteering. When age was kept constant through the use of panel data, the first baby boom cohort (born 1946 to 1955) did more volunteering than did the “silent” cohort (born 1936 to 1945), and the silents volunteered more than did the “long civic” cohort (born 1926 to 1935). The author generated regression equations that used nine 1995 variables to predict 2005 volunteering and used the boomers’ 2005 values on these variables to predict their 2015 volunteering. These equations slightly predict higher volunteering among the boomers in 2015 than the silents did in 2005. This result, combined with the large size of the boomer cohort, indicates that the total number of elderly volunteers will probably increase in the next decade.
Erez, Ayalet, Mario Mikulincer, Marinus H. van Ijzendoorn, and Pieter M. Kroonenberg. 2008. “Attachment, personality, and volunteering: Placing volunteerism in an attachment-theoretical framework.” Personality and Individual Difference 44(1):164-74.
Recent studies have emphasized the negative impact of attachment insecurities for prosocial behavior. We examined the unique contribution of attachment insecurities to volunteerism and motives for volunteering beyond the explanatory power of high-order personality traits and assessed the potential roles of motives for volunteering in mediating and moderating the links between attachment insecurities and volunteering. One-hundred fifty-nine Dutch undergraduates completed scales tapping attachment insecurities, engagement in volunteer activities, motives for volunteering, and high-order personality traits. Findings show that attachment insecurities made a unique contribution to volunteerism beyond the explanatory power of personality traits. In addition, self-focused motives for volunteering were found to moderate the link between anxious attachment and volunteering behavior. The discussion focused on the psychological mechanisms by which attachment insecurities affect volunteerism.
Farmer, G. Lawrence, and Chaya S. Piotrkowski. 2009. “African and European women’s volunteering and activism: Similarities in volunteering and differences in activism.” Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment 19(2):196-212.
This study focused on volunteerism & activism of African & European American women. This study explored potential differences in the level & nature of civic engagement between African & European American. Additionally, differences in those factors that determine civic engagement activities between the women were examined. African American & European American female participants in the 2000 Social Capital Benchmark Survey provided the data for this study (Saguaro Seminar, 2001). African & European American women did not differ in the extent to which they reported working on community projects & volunteering in their places of worship. However, their patterns of activism differed. Implications for social work practice were addressed. Adapted from the source document.
Finkelstein, Marcia A. 2008. “Predictors of volunteer time: The changing contributions of motive fulfillment and role identity. Social Behavior and Personality 36(10):1353-1364.
Relationships among constructs from the functional analysis and role identity theories of volunteerism were examined at 3 and 12 months into the volunteer process. Fulfillment of motives for helping and the strength of a volunteer role identity were assessed in a sample of hospice volunteers. Results showed that associations between motive fulfillment and amount of time devoted to hospice volunteering changed over time. Conversely, the correlations between time and role identity varied little between 3 and 12 months. The changes that were observed may explain some apparent discrepancies in the volunteer literature. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies can both yield invaluable insights into the contributions of motive and identity to sustaining volunteers. The challenge is understanding that time can change those conclusions. (SocAbs)
Finkelstein, Marcia A., and Michael T. Brannick. 2007. “Applying theories of institutional helping to informal volunteering: Motives, role identity, and prosocial personality.” Social Behavior and Personality 35(1):101-114.
Dispositional variables from a volunteer model were shown to apply to informal volunteering. The model integrates two theories of the volunteer process: functional analysis and role identity theory. Undergraduates, (N = 139), completed an informal volunteer inventory, and measures of motives, role identity, and prosocial personality. Two dimensions of informal volunteering: people-oriented and task-oriented were revealed. Both correlated with motives for helping and role identity. The personality dimension of Helpfulness was associated with both Informal Volunteering—People (IVP) and Informal Volunteering—Task (IVT), while Other-oriented Empathy correlated only with IVP. This study is the first to demonstrate the applicability of a model of formal volunteering to ongoing informal helping. Variables heretofore conceptualized as describing individuals within organizations, are seen as equally important in initiating and sustaining informal helping.
Gibson, Troy. 2008. “Religion and civic engagement among America’s youth.” Social Science Journal 45(3):504-514.
Scholars of civic engagement are noticing the consequences of religiosity. Scholars have seen the influence of religiosity on political and charitable behavior among adults. But does this pattern hold for adolescents? In this study, I use a new survey of American teenagers, the National Study of Youth and Religion, to assess the impact of intense religiosity on adolescent volunteerism and political activities. Evidence from multivariate logistic regression analyses indicate that intense religiosity, measured in terms of behavior (frequent church attendance) and beliefs (theological conservatism) significantly increase the likelihood that teens will volunteer. However, adolescent political involvement is not related to religiosity.
Gottlieb, Benajmin H., and Alayna A. Gillespie. 2008. “Volunteerism, health, and civic engagement among older adults.” Canadian Journal on Aging 27(4):399-406.
In North America, 40–50 per cent of older adults are actively involved as formal volunteers in providing diverse health and human services. We review empirical studies concerning older adults’ motivations for volunteering, as well as the health and morale benefits they derive from this expression of altruism. Knowledge of the exact nature and amount of volunteer activity necessary to produce these effects is limited, and studies have yet to identify the behavioural and psychological mechanisms that are implicated. We propose that older adult volunteers may enjoy good health and longevity because being useful to others instills a sense of being needed and valued. We present several theoretical perspectives on the developmental significance of volunteering, discuss the challenges to volunteerism imposed by the baby boom cohort, and identify future research priorities.
Hank, Karsten, and Stephanie Stuck. 2008. “Volunteer work, informal help, and care among the 50+ in Europe: Further evidence for ‘linked’ productive activities at older ages.” Social Science Research 37(4):1280-1291.
Taking a cross-national perspective, we investigate linkages between volunteer work, informal help, and care among Europeans aged 50 or older. Based on 27,297 personal interviews from the 2004 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, we estimate univariate and multivariate probit models, which allow us to analyze the interrelationship between those non-market productive activities. There is substantial variation in the participation in volunteering, helping, and caring between countries. Independent of the general level of activity in a country, we find evidence for a complementary and interdependent relationship between all three activities. Our findings not only suggest an important role of societal opportunity structures in elders’ productive engagement, but also support notions of the existence of a general motivation to be active.
Haski-Leventhal, Debbie, Ram A. Cnaan, Femida Handy, Jeffrey L. Brudney, Kristen Holmes, Lesley Hustinx, Chulhee Kang, Meenaz Kassam, Lucas C. P. M. Meijs, Bhagyashree Ranade, Naoto Yamauchi, Anne Birgitta Yeung and Sinisa Zrinscak. 2008. “Students’ vocational choices and voluntary action: A 12-nation study.” Voluntas 19(1):1-21.
Previous research on student involvement suggested that business and engineering students manifest lowest rates of voluntary action. Similarly, it was thought that social science students are the most involved in voluntary action, with students of natural sciences and humanities in the middle. However, there were very few studies that empirically compared these assertions. Furthermore, these assertions were not investigated from cross-cultural perspectives. Based on a study of students in 12 countries (N = 6,570), we found that even when controlling for background variables, social science students are actually less engaged in voluntary action than other students. Engineering students are higher than expected on voluntary action while students of humanities are the most involved in voluntary action. When studying these differences in the 12 selected countries, local cultures and norms form different sets of findings that suggest that there is no universal trend in choice of academic field and voluntary action.
Lipford, Jody W., and Bruce Yandle. 2009. “The determinants of purposeful voluntarism.” Journal of Socio-Economics 38(1):72-79.
Voluntarism is pervasive among humans, but what factors explain this particular nonmarket activity? Does it result from altruistic motives to help those less fortunate? Is it the result of rational or instinctive behavior that enhances individual and group survival? In this paper we draw upon the works of Adam Smith, Gary Becker, Herbert Simon, and evolutionary biologists Matt Ridley and Richard Dawkins to construct a formal model of interdependent utility functions. We test the implications of our model with data on volunteerism for U.S. states. Our findings support theories of volunteerism based on mutual aid among people with a common race and language and a relatively even distribution of income. (Elsevier)
McCabe, Tamara L., Katherine M. White ,and Patricia L. Obst. 2007. “The importance of volunteering functions to university students.” Australian Journal of Volunteering 12(2):50-58.
Volunteer work plays a key role in the functioning of social services within our communities. Younger volunteers now comprise a major component of the volunteer population. However, little work on the volunteerism of younger people, especially students, has been conducted in an Australian context. The present study investigated the psychological functions that volunteering serves amongst young tertiary students who volunteer and the perception of the functions served by volunteering by those who do not volunteer. A survey of a cohort of Australian university students, comprising both volunteers and non-volunteers, showed that 42.1% of the sampled university students were recent volunteers and that 74.4% had volunteered at some point in the past, thus demonstrating the importance of this cohort for volunteering practices in Australia. For the functions that volunteering serves, the results indicated that both volunteer and non-volunteer students rated the values and understanding functions as significantly more important than any other function. Further, non-volunteers rated the career function as more important than current volunteers. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of strategies that are most effective in engaging younger volunteers.
Mellor, David, et al. 2009. “Volunteering and its relationship with personal and neighborhood well-being.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 38(1):144-159.
Although a relationship between volunteering and well-being has been demonstrated in
numerous studies, well-being has generally been poorly operationalized and often
defined by the relative absence of pathology. In this study, the authors take a positive
approach to defining well-being and investigate the relationship between volunteering
and personal and neighborhood well-being. The theoretical approach incorporates elements
of the homeostatic model of well-being. A sample of 1,289 adults across
Australia completed a questionnaire that assessed personal and neighborhood wellbeing,
personality factors, and the psychosocial resources implicated in the homeostatic
model of well-being. Analyses reveal that volunteers had higher personal and
neighborhood well-being than nonvolunteers and that volunteering contributed additional
variance in well-being even after psychosocial and personality factors were
accounted for. The findings are discussed in terms of previous research and the homeostatic
model of well-being, and it is argued that the relationship between volunteering
and well-being is robust.
Piliavin, J.A., and E. Siegel. 2007. “Health benefits of volunteering in the Wisconsin longitudinal study.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior 48(4):450-464.
We investigate positive effects of volunteering on psychological well-being and self-reported health using all four waves of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study. Confirming previous research, volunteering was positively related to both outcome variables. Both consistency of volunteering over time and diversity of participation are significantly related to well-being and self-reported health. The relationship of volunteering to psychological well-being was moderated by level of social integration, such that those who were less well integrated benefited the most. Mattering appears to mediate the link between volunteering and wellbeing. Controls for other forms of social participation and for the predictors of volunteering are employed in analyses of well-being in 1992. We find volunteering effects on psychological well-being in 2004, controlling for 1992 wellbeing, thus providing strong evidence for a causal effect.
Prouteau, Lionel, and François-Charles Wolff. 2008. “On the relational motive for volunteer work.” Journal of Economic Psychology 29(3):314-335.
While economists have mainly focused on investment or altruistic motives to explain why people undertake volunteer activities, we rely instead in this paper on the relational motive previously emphasized by social psychologists. Volunteering is seen as a way to build friendly relationships. Drawing on the French survey Vie Associative conducted by INSEE in 2002 on volunteer work and association membership, we shed light on the relevance of this relational motive using two samples of, respectively, 1578 volunteers and 2631 participants in associations. According to their own statements, many volunteers seek to make friends and to meet other people through these activities. Econometric results show that working as a volunteer in an association has a causal impact on the probability of making friends in that association, which also supports the relational motive.
Quintelier, Ellen. 2008. “Who is politically active: The athlete, the scout member, or the environmental activist?” Acta Sociologica 51(4):355-370.
Most research finds that voluntary engagement leads to more political participation. However, it is not entirely clear which type of organization encourages political participation and what skills are required. There is also some discussion about whether multiple memberships promote political participation. In this article, I use the Belgian Youth Survey (n = 6,330) in investigating the effect that type of organization, the time spent in organizations, the number of memberships and skills-related activities has on political participation. My findings suggest that voluntary organizations are powerful political socialization agents leading to young people engaging in politics. Young people who are members of several organizations are more active in politics, while spending a greater amount of time in one organization does not increase level of political participation. Cultural, deliberative and help organizations are more successful than expressive, religious—ethnic and youth groups in fostering political engagement. Finally, organizations that allow young people to take up a leadership role, or to organize activities, encourage participation in political activities.
Stebbins, Robert. 2009. “Would you volunteer?” Society 46(2):155-159.
Being motivated to volunteer is a crucial condition for both the volunteers and those seeking their services. Yet the reigning conceptual model of volunteering in the field of nonprofit sector studies — an economic one based on the idea that the first may be defined as people engaged in unpaid labor — offers at best a superficial explanation of the motives encouraging them to altruistically offer their time. In light of this conceptual deficiency another definition of volunteering (and hence volunteer) has, of late, been gaining acceptance. Sometimes referred to as a volitional definition, it roots in sociology and social psychology: volunteers feel they are engaging in a leisure activity, which they have had the option to accept or reject on their own terms.
Taylor, Tiffany, Christine Mallison, and Kristina Bloch. 2008. “’Looking for a few good women’: Volunteerism as interaction in two organizations.” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 37(3):389-410.
A substantial body of research examines volunteerism via surveys of individual volunteers or volunteer organizations. The authors argue that researchers must expand this conceptualization of volunteering to include the interactive process between the volunteer and the organization. Using structuration theory as a guiding framework, the authors examine how volunteers’ behavior is both shaped by and also affects the way in which two organizations are structured. In this comparative case study, the authors utilize participant observation, interviews, and archival analysis to illustrate this interaction in two organizations, a no-kill cat shelter and a resource organization for women who partner with women. They find that the character of the labor process, and specifically whether it entails the expenditure of emotional labor, leads to either burdensome or rewarding volunteer experiences. The authors further underscore the importance of examining emerging trends in “episodic volunteering” and shifts in nonprofit organizations toward more bureaucratized business forms.
Warburton, Jenny, and Deirdre McLaughlin. 2007. “Passing on our culture: How older Australians from diverse cultural backgrounds contribute to civil society.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology 22(1):47-60.
Australia is a culturally diverse country, with one in five older Australians born overseas in non-English speaking countries, as well as others who are part of the Indigenous population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Little is known about how these individuals age productively and contribute to society. Survey data show that they are less likely to volunteer for an organisation than other older people, yet it may be that they contribute to civil society in alternate ways that are generally unrecognised and unacknowledged. In the absence of a general lack of understanding of how older Australians from diverse cultural backgrounds contribute to community, the aim of the present paper is to explore this topic using qualitative data from a larger study of the lived experiences of older Australians. Findings suggest that respondents are very active within their families and communities in ways that differ from mainstream older Australians. Generally, they have an important role in maintaining or promoting their culture; and providing support across their communities based on common experience. In particular, respondents describe a special relationship with the young within their communities. This includes being a grandparent or elderly advisor, as well as the role that many Indigenous elders play in encouraging and supporting troubled young people. Although further and more representative studies of older Australians are now needed, this paper, nevertheless, begins to explore what has been a neglected area of ageing policy and research.
Webb, Natalie J., and Rikki Abzug. 2008. “Do occupational group members vary in volunteering activity?” Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 37(4):646-667.
The goal of our study is to explore how employees in different occupations report volunteering activities. Starting from the literatures on occupational subcultures and professional norms, the authors hypothesize that both structural constraints and norms of occupations may have an impact on extraorganizational behavior. Analyzing Center on Philanthropy Panel Study data linked with the Institute for Social Research’s Panel Study on Income Dynamics, the authors find evidence that individuals in professional, managerial, and military occupations are more likely to volunteer than are individuals in other occupational categories. Controlling for individual demographic and cultural variables, they affirm the explanatory power of occupation on individual volunteering behavior.
Wuthnow, Robert, and Valerie Lewis. 2008. “Religion and altruistic U.S. foreign policy goals: Evidence from a national survey of church members.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 47(2):191-209.
Interest in the possible role of religion in shaping attitudes toward the U.S. foreign policy has increased significantly in recent years, but relatively few studies have been conducted. Drawing on a new national survey of church members, we examine the relationships of religious identity, religious involvement, and congregational programs to attitudes about the importance of altruistic foreign policy goals. We find no support for popular claims that evangelical Protestants hold particularly supportive attitudes toward international human rights and humanitarian aid policies. We find only modest support for the idea that attendance at worship services encourages people to be altruistic in a way that influences their views about foreign policy. However, we do find considerable support for the idea that congregations can shape members’ views about foreign policy through intentional activities that raise awareness of needs at home and abroad.