Why do students volunteer? : a study using the functionalist approach theory on volunteer motivation
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, Educational Sciences
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201506061808
|Publish Date:|| 2015-06-08
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
This master’s thesis examines volunteering as a phenomenon with respect to the motivation of students to engage in volunteerism. There are many volunteer programs available for students, from opportunities offered by their schools, their districts and the various choices made available by international humanitarian organizations. The focal point of this study is specifically identifying what motivations students perceive to have when they join these volunteer programs that are made available to them.
The motivations are divided accordingly per the Functionalist Approach Theory on Volunteer Motivation- which will be the theoretical framework of the entire study. The theory explicitly states that volunteer motivation is divided into six (6) categories — Values, Enhancement, Career, Social, Protective and Understanding functions. The methodological basis makes use of the Functionalist Approach questionnaire and is also rooted on phenomenology. The latter is concerned with the study of experience and analyses motivations in-depth via interviews conducted by the researcher.
The responses indicated that students do have various motivations all at once. Though even if all these motivations did exist- there are motivational factors which student perceive to be more important than the other. The three functions that were perceived to be more important were Values, Career, and Understanding. The Social function was considered to be the least important while Enhancement and Protective functions received mixed receptions and did not meet a general consensus. Together with volunteer motivation is the juxtaposition of volunteer retention. When programs address motivation they can also create more sustainable programs with higher volunteer retention.
The findings of the study cannot be generalised, but the use of the questionnaire — including the unique experiences of each interviewee, have emphasized the volunteer motivation is multi-faceted and play an important role in sustaining volunteer programs.
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