Research report for project: PYC4809
Title: What motivates people to do volunteer work?
Examination period: October/November 2013
What motivates people to do volunteer work?
The motivation of people to volunteer has long fascinated those researching and working alongside volunteers. Understanding the motivational drives of those who volunteer has long been a recurring theme preoccupying much of literature on volunteering. According to research by Esmond and Dunlop (2004), what actually motivates a person to volunteer is a complex and vexing question, yet understanding these motivations can be of great assistance to organisation. Every year millions of people …show more content…
The empathy-altruism hypothesis has been challenged on additional grounds as well. Several bodies of evidence suggest the link between empathic concern and helping might be more prominent in the context of close relationships than among strangers. However, studies examing prosocial behaviour across different relationship contexts have not disentangled empathic concern from egoistic factors (Maner, 2007). The current studies suggest that like many forms of interpersonal action, the nature of prosocial behaviour may depend on the type of relationship that exists between the provider and the recipient of help (Maner, 2007).
Altruism – the enduring tendency to benefit others, is one of the most consistent individual resources related to helping behaviours. Previous studies have related altruism to helping behaviours within organisations. Not every act of volunteering is altruistic and not every altruistic act is volunteering, but the connection between the two concepts is so strong that one cannot speak of the one without the other. In 1981, Horton Smith developed a two- factor model for understanding volunteer motivation, distinguishing between altruistic motives (i.e., intangible rewards such as feeling good about helping others) and egoistic motives (i.e., tangible rewards).
Volunteering can benefit adults by providing a goal to focus on or distraction from other concerns. The aim