subscribe to careers
MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
NEWS  |  Communities, Volunteering

Volunteer Motivations Under the Microscope


Tuesday, 27th January 2015 at 9:58 am
Lina Caneva, Editor
Volunteers primarily motivated to help others were more likely to report higher levels of well-being, satisfaction, and intentions to continue volunteering than volunteers who were primarily ‘self-oriented’, according to new research.

Tuesday, 27th January 2015
at 9:58 am
Lina Caneva, Editor


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Volunteer Motivations Under the Microscope
Tuesday, 27th January 2015 at 9:58 am

Volunteers who are primarily motivated to help others were more likely to report higher levels of well-being, satisfaction, and intentions to continue volunteering than volunteers who were primarily ‘self-oriented’, according to new research.

Researchers at La Trobe University in Melbourne surveyed more than 4,000 volunteers in late 2014 about their current volunteer positions and their motivations to volunteer.

The aim of the research called Motivations to Volunteer and Their Associations With Volunteers’ Well-Being was to measure self-esteem, wellbeing, self-efficacy, social connectedness, and social trust.

The findings suggest that “organisations that work with volunteers may wish to seek those with ‘other-oriented’ motivation and to encourage it in current volunteers”. However they cautioned that “volunteers are rarely purely ‘other-oriented’ or ‘self-oriented’ in their motivations.”

"Self-oriented" volunteers were described as motivated by reasons such as career advancement or boosting self esteem.

Lead researcher Dr Arthur Stukas said he suspects "other-oriented" motivations may simply be easier to fulfill—it’s easier to make volunteers feel that they’re contributing to a good cause than it may be to help them find a new job.

“Our primary hypothesis is that ‘other-oriented’ motivations to volunteer will be more strongly related to well-being than self-oriented motivations to volunteer,” he said.

“Overall, Australian volunteers who engaged in service primarily for ‘other-oriented’reasons; to express their prosocial values or to reaffirm their relationships with close others, or for exploration reasons, to learn more about other people, the world, and their own strengths, were more likely to report higher levels of well-being."

The research found that these volunteers were also more likely to report higher satisfaction, perceived support from the volunteer organisation, and intentions to continue volunteering.

In contrast, the research said Australian volunteers who engaged in service primarily for "self-oriented" reasons; to distract themselves from personal problems or to advance their careers (but not specifically to feel good about themselves), were more likely to report lower well-being and poorer outcomes.

Dr Stukas said future research was needed to better understand the causal direction of these effects and the possible mediators that link "other-oriented" volunteering to better outcomes.

“Organisations that work with volunteers may wish to seek those with ‘other-oriented’ motivation and to encourage it in current volunteers."

He pointed to previous research by Okun, O’Rourke, Keller, Johnson, and Enders (2014)  which pointed out that religiosity and the key ‘other-oriented’ motivation of value expression are positively associated, suggesting that religious organisations may be a valuable source of reliable volunteers.

“However, volunteers are rarely purely ‘other-oriented’ or ‘self-oriented’ in their motivations. As such, we recommend that organisations be wary of those who might not show enough interest in helping others but not necessarily seek to turn away volunteers who wish to help themselves too," he said. 

“After all, if organisations are able to provide opportunities that allow volunteers to satisfy their primary motivations, whatever they may be, this may attenuate the differences in outcomes attributable to motivation type, and potentially increase benefits for all.”

 


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and Editor of Pro Bono Australia News since it was founded in 2000.


Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Predictions for 2019: Volunteering

Adrienne Picone

Thursday, 17th January 2019 at 7:30 am

Charities Call to Protect Volunteers Against Sexual Harassment

Luke Michael

Monday, 26th November 2018 at 4:51 pm

Why do People Really Become Homeless?

Contributor

Wednesday, 14th November 2018 at 5:36 pm

POPULAR

‘Toxic’ Amnesty Workplace Sparks Criticism of Australian Social Sector Culture

Maggie Coggan

Wednesday, 13th February 2019 at 5:29 pm

Disability Services Fighting to Stay Afloat

Luke Michael

Thursday, 21st February 2019 at 8:32 am

Program Looks to Halve Electricity Costs for Charities

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 12th February 2019 at 4:26 pm

ParentsNext Under Fire for Punitive Approach to Single Mothers

Luke Michael

Monday, 11th February 2019 at 4:09 pm

subscribe to careers
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!