Volunteer Motives Predict Volunteer Behavior

Volunteers generally score higher on these motives than nonvolunteers (e.g., Clary, Snyder, & Stukas, 1996). In addition, volunteers can be motivated by more than one motive; in fact, in one investigation, 62.9 percent of the volunteers studied had multiple motives for volunteering (Kiviniemi, Snyder, & Omoto, 2002). And, these motives predict who stays active as a volunteer. In a field study of volunteers (Omoto & Snyder, 1995), volunteer motives significantly influenced duration of service over a 2 XA. year period—and did so better than other potentially relevant predictors (such as having the traits of a “helping personality” or being part of a large and supportive social network).

These motivations form the basis for agendas for action in which the motivations that bring people into volunteerism set the stage for events to come over the course of service as a volunteer—with these motivations influencing the decision to become a volunteer, interacting with experiences as a volunteer, and foreshadowing the outcomes of volunteer service (for examples of research on the interweaving of motivation in the unfolding dynamics of the volunteer process, see Clary & Orenstein, 1991; Clary et al., 1998; Davis, Hall, & Meyer, 2003; Omoto & Snyder, 1995; Penner & Finkelstein, 1998; Piliavin, 2005; Simon, Stuermer, & Steffens, 2000).

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