The first year: Influences on the satisfaction, involvement, and persistence of new community volunteers

  • Davis M
  • Hall J
  • Meyer M
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This investigation tests an elaborated form of Omoto and Snyder's volunteer process model, which explains how the helping behavior of volunteers is influenced by antecedent factors and by subjective experiences while volunteering. Two-hundred-thirty-eight community volunteers from nine different organizations were recruited at the time of initial orientation and completed measures of personality and motivation. They were contacted at four times during their first year of volunteering and queried regarding their emotional reactions (sympathy, distress), satisfaction, and degree to which their motivations for volunteering were being fulfilled. Consistent with the elaborated model, feelings of sympathy, distress, and motive fulfillment were substantially predicted by antecedent factors, and satisfaction with the volunteer work was substantially predicted by these subjective experiences. Also consistent with the elaborated model, volunteer involvement (hours per week volunteered) was predicted by satisfaction, although volunteer persistence over time was not. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Empathy
  • Helping
  • Motives
  • Volunteering

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  • Mark H. Davis

  • Jennifer A. Hall

  • Marnee Meyer

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