Differential prediction of volunteer outcomes: Refining our knowledge of social service participation
The present research tests a model of volunteering that attempts to explain the process through which social experiences, personality, and motives affect volunteer outcomes. Previous research on volunteerism, while incorporating many different types of predictor variables, has lacked an explanation for their interrelationships. In addition, most of this research has concentrated on narrow measures of volunteering, namely those relating to satisfaction, frequency, longevity, and intent to continue volunteering. This research extends on the types of volunteer outcomes traditionally studied, specifically to measures of performance quality and organizational development participation. Certain social experiences, personality traits, and motives were predicted to relate to each of these outcomes, primarily based on an altruistic/egoistic division. Surveys were completed by 176 volunteers and 118 of their supervisors at several organizations with volunteer populations. Data were collected from volunteers on their personalities, social experiences, motives, and intent to continue volunteering. Participants' supervisors were asked to rate the volunteers' performance and organizational participation. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling, and various significant relationships were found between volunteer characteristics and intent to continue volunteering, including several aspects of motives for volunteering (importance, fulfillment, and an interaction of the two). Altruistic social experiences based in a religious context were also strongly related to intentions. Only Extraversion and a lack of esteem enhancement motives predicted organizational participation, and performance was generally not well predicted. Practical implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed.
0451: Social psychology