Materials for Teaching, Research and Policy Making



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KEY WORDS: Canada; Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations; Volunteers; Social Accounting; Accounting.

Morrow-Howell, N., Hinterlong, J., Rozario, P. A., & Tang, F. (2003). Effects of volunteering on the well-being of older adults. Journals of Gerontology: Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences, 58B(3), S137-S145.


This article explores the effects of volunteering on the well-being of older adults. Older adults who volunteer and who engage in more hours of volunteering describe higher levels of well-being. This positive effect of higher levels of well-being was not moderated by social integration, race, or gender. Also, there was no effect on the number of organizations for which the older adult volunteered, the type of organization, or the perceived benefit of the work to others. The author's work contributes to a knowledge base that supports the development of social programs and policies that maximize the engagement of older adults in volunteer roles. Results suggest that targeting efforts may not be needed, in that there are not differential benefits according to personal characteristics of the volunteer.
KEY WORDS: Adult Development; Psychosocial Factors; Volunteers; Well Being; Goals; Mental Health; Personality Traits; Volunteer Work.

Mündel, K., & Schugurensky, D. (2005). Volunteers’ informal learning in community-based organizations: On individual experience and collective reflection. Paper presented at the Canadian Association for the Study of Adult Education (CASAE) National Conference. On-Line Proceedings. University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. May 28 to May 31.


The data emerging from this study indicate that volunteers involved in community-based organizations engage in learning that is diverse, intense, and sometimes also transformative. It was beyond the scope of this piece to give an exhaustive account of all learning. However, we identified significant learning in at least five areas, which we labeled instrumental skills, process skills, factual knowledge, dispositional learning, and political/civic learning. Uncovering this learning repertoire was not a straightforward process; a large portion of it is tacit and unconscious, and thus we employed techniques to elicit it and make it explicit. We also found that most of the learning was acquired “accidentally”, and confirmed Kolb’s (1984) claim that learning mode preferences were related to learning styles. Some volunteers reported learning best from doing, others from listening to experts, and others from group interactions. The data suggest that, by and large, the learning experience became more relevant, meaningful and long-lasting when it was connected to a process of collective reflection and critical analysis. They also suggest that mentoring relationships play a particularly important role in the learning process. With a broad range of informal and formal modalities, mentoring relationships are especially suitable to the varying contexts of volunteer organizations and more able to adapt to varying conditions than many other facilitators of learning. (From Conclusion)
KEY WORDS: Voluntary Work and Learning; Canada; Volunteer Learning; Survey; Community Work; Informal Learning.

Musick, M. A., & Wilson, J. (2003). Volunteering and depression: The role of psychological and social resources in different age groups. Social Science and Medicine, 56(2), 259-269.


There are a number of reasons why volunteering might yield mental health benefits, especially in the elderly. For instance, volunteer work increases access to social and psychological resources, which are known to counter negative moods such as depression and anxiety. This article reports on analysis of three waves of data from the Americans' Changing Lives data set (1986, 1989, and 1994). It reveals that volunteering can lower depression levels for those over 65, while prolonged exposure to volunteering benefits both populations. Some of the effect of volunteering on depression among the elderly is attributable to the increased social integration, but the intervening effect of psychological resources is very small. Volunteering for religious reasons is more beneficial for mental health than volunteering for secular causes but, again, the effect is confined to the elderly.
KEY WORDS: Volunteers; Depression (Psychology); Elderly; Mental Health; United States of America; Volunteer Work.

Musick, M. A., Wilson, J., & Bynum, W. B., Jr. (2000). Race and formal volunteering: The differential effects of class and religion. Social Forces, 78(4), 1539-1570.


Panel survey data (initial N = 3,617 respondents, ages 25+) collected in 1986 and 1989 indicate that whites volunteer more than blacks. This article explores whether this tendency is due to the way human capital is distributed in the population. The authors develop a resource theory which acknowledges that, besides human capital, social and cultural resources play a role in making volunteer work possible. Findings suggest that Black Americans tend to be better endowed with these kinds of resources than whites, which partially compensates for their shortage of human capital. However, blacks are less likely than whites to be asked to volunteer and less likely to accept the invitation if offered. In considering racial differences in pathways to volunteering, it is found that, for all kinds of volunteering except the entirely secular, black volunteering is more influenced by church attendance than is white volunteering. This can be a reflection of the more prominent role of the black church in its community, while socioeconomic differences have a smaller impact on black volunteering. Among volunteers for secular activities, church attendance has a negative effect on volunteering, but only for whites.
KEY WORDS: Black White Differences; Volunteers; Class Differences; Human Capital; Sociocultural Factors; Human Resources; Black Americans; Whites; Church Attendance; Black Community; United States of America; Volunteer Work.

Mustillo, S., Wilson, J., & Lynch, S. M. (2004). Legacy volunteering: A test of two theories of intergenerational transmission. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(2), 530-541.


Sociological theory suggests two reasons why volunteering runs in families. First, parents act as role models. Second, parents who volunteer pass on the socioeconomic resources needed to do volunteer work. In this study, panel data from two generations of women (N = 1,848) were analyzed to determine the influence of family socioeconomic status & mother's volunteering on daughter's volunteer careers. Findings indicate that more highly educated women & women whose mothers volunteered more hours initially, but only family socioeconomic status increases volunteering over the life course.
KEY WORDS: Volunteers; Role Models; Parental Influence; Socioeconomic Status; Mothers; Daughters; Volunteer Work.

Mutchler, J. E., Burr, J. A., & Caro, F. G. (2003). From paid worker to volunteer: Leaving the paid workforce and volunteering in later life. Social Forces, 81(4), 1267-1293.


Numerous role shifts occur between the ages of 55 & 74 as individuals typically relinquish paid work & some family roles & make choices about how to use their expanding discretionary time. Using data from the first two waves of the Americans' Changing Lives survey, this study examines the association between paid work status & formal & informal volunteer activity. It employs data from the first two waves of the Americans' Changing Lives survey. Findings indicate that there is no relationship between paid work status & informal volunteering. This suggests that helping friends, neighbors, & relatives occurs independent of paid work. There is a relationship with formal volunteering, however. Individuals who were not volunteering for formal organizations at the time of the first interview, part time workers, those who did not work in either wave, and those who stopped work between interviews were significantly more involved in volunteering than were full time workers.
KEY WORDS: Volunteers; Retirement; Middle Aged Adults; Elderly; Labor Force Participation; Working Hours; Time Utilization; Volunteer Work.

Naples, N. A. (2002). Activist mothering and community work: Fighting oppression in low-income neighborhoods. In D. Kurz, F. Cancian, A. London, R. Reviere & M. Tuominen (Eds.), Child care and inequity: Re-thinking carework for children and youth (pp. 207-221). New York: Routledge.


This chapter explores how community workers challenge conventional definitions of mothering in the sense that community care work becomes "activist mothering" to secure economic and social justice for community members. While it focuses on the experiences of resident community workers many of the nonresident community workers, especially the women of color and White women from working-class backgrounds, also described many of these patterns. The chapter goes on to outline key dimensions of the community workers' activist mothering and explore how racism and class oppression contributed to their community work and the strategies they developed to fight against discrimination. The author also discusses the tensions between family-based labor and community work, concluding that community workers defied dominant definitions of mothering and politics through their activist community care taking.
KEY WORDS: Caregivers; Communities; Justice; Social Issues; Activism; Community Work.

Nunn, M. (2002). Volunteering as a tool for building social capital. Journal of Volunteer Administration, 20(4), 14-20.


The article outlines strategies for volunteer administrators to strengthen their commitment while building social capital. They include expanding networking opportunities, increasing understanding of issues, incorporating concepts of service learning, and bridging to civic and political participation.
KEY WORDS: Voluntarism; Volunteer Administrators; Networking; Volunteer Work.

Okun, M. A., & Schultz, A. (2003). Age and motives for volunteering: Testing hypotheses derived from socioemotional selectivity theory. Psychology & Aging, 18(2), 231-239.


Following a meta-analysis of the relations between age and volunteer motives (career, understanding, enhancement, protective, making friends, social, and values), this study tested hypotheses regarding the effects of age on these volunteer motives. 523 volunteers from 2 affiliates of the International Habitat for Humanity completed the Volunteer Functions Inventory. Multiple regression analyses showed that as age increases, career and understanding volunteer motivation decreases while social volunteer motivation increases. Contrary to expectations, age was shown not to predict enhancement, protective, and values volunteer motivations. Also the relation between age and making friends volunteer motivation was nonlinear.
KEY WORDS: Aging; Hypothesis Testing; Motivation; Theories; Volunteers; Volunteer Work.

Oliker, S. J. (2000). Grassroots warriors: Activist mothering, community work, and the war on poverty. Contemporary Sociology, 29(1), 254-255.


Accounts of programs and activism during the War on Poverty have predominantly highlighted grassroots male activism and leadership. The author extends the historical record, emphasizing the roles of over two million female volunteers and paid workers who led and staffed the efforts of community-based organizations. Using in-depth interviews with 64 women who had been longtime paid employees of organizations supported by the federal Office of Economic Opportunity during the War on Poverty, Naples explores experiences of community work and civic leadership, and the identities and careers of the women workers. She pays particular attention to the ways gender, class, and race-as well as policy-shaped those experiences.
KEY WORDS: Grass Roots Movement; Activism; Poverty; Community Service; Volunteer Work.

Payne, S. (2002). Dilemmas in the use of volunteers to provide hospice bereavement support: Evidence from New Zealand. Mortality, 7(2), 139-154.


This study explored the tension between professionalization and volunteerism in health care. It focused on the role of volunteers who provide bereavement support and palliative care services within hospices. Data about the role of bereavement support workers were generated from interviews with 34 female and 3 male co-ordinators, and questionnaires completed by 113 female and 8 male volunteers, from 26 hospices. Tensions revolved around the differences in the perspectives of co-coordinators and volunteers and professionalizing ethos and lay understandings of bereavement. Broader social factors influence how bereavement support services are planned and implemented. This paper recommends that a better conceptual understanding of the role of volunteers in helping others deal with loss and grief is needed.
KEY WORDS: Grief; Hospice; Palliative Care; Professional Personnel; Volunteers; Social Support; Volunteer Work.

Perez Perez, G. (2000). Volunteers between liberty and social need. Cuadernos de Relationes Laborales, 17, 123-137.


The growth of volunteering as a component of non-remunerated work is part of an underlying debate focusing on the crisis in remunerated work as an essential means of distributing income and status. Some estimates of the volume of non-remunerated volunteer work are put forward as well as the conditions of freedom for those receiving salaries. The need for this type of work is also analyzed.
KEY WORDS: Volunteers; Work; Income Distribution; Volunteer Work.

Postigo, H. (2003). Emerging sources of labor on the internet: The case of America online volunteers. International Review of Social History, 48(supplement 11), 205-223.


Postigo draws on sociological literature addressing the post-industrial shift and emerging kinds of work in the technologies of post-industrialism to consider the result of Internet service provider AOL's response to increased membership and a lawsuit filed by an ex-volunteer for back wages. Postigo demonstrates how AOL manages to control the volunteer work process helping to define volunteers as workers producing a valued commodity. The revealing of non-remunerated work that is hidden behind the rhetoric of hobby or leisure is viewed as a positive step in occupational formation. It is concluded that AOL volunteers, in grasping the ephemeral nature of cultural production, will reveal new sources of value in post-industrial media through position and situation.
KEY WORDS: Internet; Volunteers; Labor Process; Labor Relations; Value (Economics); Occupational Classifications; Postindustrial Societies; Volunteer Work.

Prouteau, L., & Wolff, F.-C. (2006). Does volunteer work pay off in the labor market? The Journal of Socio-Economics, 35(6), 992-1013.


The paper focuses on the investment motive for volunteer work, examining whether volunteer work has an economic payoff upon the labor market in France. Using a switching regression model with endogenous switching, findings suggest that in the public sector volunteers receive a positive wage premium that does not influence their involvement, while the premium is negative in the private sector. The authors also find little evidence of the presence of alternative types of returns on the labor market, such as employment mobility or entry into the labor market. The findings are more consistent with a consumption motive and the authors suggest that volunteering is carried out with a relational purpose.
KEY WORDS: Volunteer Work; Economic Payoff; Human Capital; Switching Regression.

Ramirez-Valles, J. (2001). "I was not invited to be a [CHW]...I asked to be one": Motives for community mobilization among women community health workers in Mexico. Health Education & Behavior, 28(2), 150-165.


Despite health educators' renewed interest in community mobilization for health, their motives have received minimal attention. Ramirez-Valles analyzes the motivating of female health workers (CHWs) who are members of a community-based organization in Mexico. Guided by critical feminist and social-constructivist theories, the authors identify categories of motives used by CHWs to realize how these motives are created. Analysis suggests that mobilization for health may be improved by addressing both the personal satisfaction of individuals and the accomplishments of public goods. Understanding motive may be useful for the recruiting of participants in community mobilization efforts.
KEY WORDS: Community Development; Health Education; Human Females; Motivation; Participation; Community Work.

Reitsma-Street, M., Maczewski, M., & Neysmith, S. (2000). Promoting engagement: An organizational study of volunteers in community resource centres for children. Children & Youth Services Review, 22(8), 651-678.


The authors discuss how people living in poor communities speak of their volunteer experiences in multicultural-community-resource centers for children and, how they understand the organizational conditions that promote or discourage meaningful volunteer work. Experiences in community resource centers geared to the development of children and neighborhoods are explored in focus groups. Volunteer hours accumulated over 3 yrs compliment the qualitative data along with participant observation and documents. It is noted that volunteering is fostered through conscientious finance, good building maintenance, and the maintaining of community governance.
KEY WORDS: Attitudes; Child Welfare; Community Services; Volunteers; Community Development; Poverty Areas; Multiculturalism; Volunteer Work.

Rossi, A. S. (2001). Caring and doing for other: Social responsibility in the domains of family, work, and community. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.


Rossi explores the extent to which adults give their time to care-giving and social support, the extent of their financial assistance to family members, the time given to volunteer work, and financial contributions to a variety of causes, charities, and organizations. Time and effort affect these contributions. Based on a national survey of more than 3,000 Americans aged 25 to 74 yrs, this book is supplemented by interviews with Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans in New York City. Also Included is an eight-day time budget study devoted to daily contact and in-depth interviews on what social responsibility means in respondents' lives.
KEY WORDS: Adult Attitudes; Charitable Behavior; Responsibility; Social Behavior; Caregivers; Communities; Family; Money; Occupations; Social Support; Volunteer Work.

Rotolo, T., & Wilson, J. (2007). The effects of children and employment status on the volunteer work of American women. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 36(3), 487-503.


Competing demands from work and family make it difficult for women to do volunteer work. An analysis of data from the Young Women's Cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey (1978-1991) shows that homemakers are more likely to volunteer than are full-time workers, followed by part-time workers. Mothers of school-age children are the most likely to volunteer, followed by childless women and mothers of young children. Mothers of school-age children are even more likely to volunteer if they are homemakers, and mothers of pre-school children are even less likely to volunteer if they work full-time.
KEY WORDS: Children; Employment; Volunteer Work; National Longitudinal Survey.

Schugurensky, D., & Mündel, K. (2004). Volunteer work and learning: Hidden dimensions of labour force training. In K. Leithwood, D. W. Livingstone, A. Cumming, N. Bascia & A. Datnow (Eds.), International handbook of educational policy (pp. 997-1022). New York: Kluwer.


The chapter presents a historical perspective on voluntary work and learning and addresses current conceptual questions related to volunteering and learning. In Canada, volunteer work contributes the equivalent of over 575,000 full-time jobs per year, which represents 11% of the total labour contribution, and an addition of about $13 billion to the national economy. Moreover, volunteers contribute to the economy in out-of-pocket expenses ($841 million in the late 1980s) that are not reimbursed. In the analysis of volunteer learning, a particular emphasis is placed on community volunteer work-related informal learning. A key finding of the last NALL survey (1998) is the existence of a much stronger association between community volunteer work time and community-related informal learning than between paid employment time and job-related informal learning. The survey also found that people involved in community work devote about 4 hours a week on average to community-related informal learning, and that the most common learning activities include interpersonal skills, communication skills, social issues and organizational/managerial skills.
KEY WORDS: Voluntary Work and Learning; Canada; Volunteer Learning; Survey; Community Work; Informal Learning.

Shaw, M., & Martin, I. (2000). Community work, citizenship and democracy: Re-making the connections. Community Development Journal, 35(4), 401-413.


This paper attempts to do four things: first, to review key phases in the post-war development of community work and to identify the discourses of citizenship implicit within them (i.e. social democracy: the problem of the inactive citizen; the structuralist critique: the problem of citizen action; marketization: the problem of the citizen as customer; democratic renewal: the challenge of active citizenship); second, to argue that the contemporary context requires new ways of thinking about the relationship between community work, citizenship, and democracy; third, to assess the significance of the recent history of community work for this task; finally, to consider the extent to which the current interest in democratic renewal presents opportunities for reconstructing this relationship. At a time when community work seems to be increasingly incorporated within state policy, it is all the more important to reflect upon and evaluate the efficacy of community work. The main elements of the argument are brought together in a summary table at the end of the text.
KEY WORDS: Community Development; Citizen Participation; Democracy; Community Work.

St John, C., & Fuchs, J. (2002). The heartland responds to terror: Volunteering after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Social Science Quarterly, 83(2), 397-415.


Volunteering is examined in the relief effort brought about by the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. Two issues are key: (1) the extent of the volunteering and its forms; (2) whether or not Wilson & Musick's (1997a) "integrated theory of volunteer work" helps to explain variation in volunteering in this disaster situation. Data is used from the 1996 Oklahoma City Survey based on a random sample of the adult population of Oklahoma City and was administered 10 months after the bombing. Nearly 75% of the sample respondents volunteered to support the relief effort in giving money and donating non-professional goods or services. Socio-economic status, knowing someone killed or injured in the bombing, belonging to voluntary organizations before the bombing, and being affiliated with a religious denomination were predictors of volunteering, depending on the type of volunteer activity considered. The magnitude of volunteering after the Murrah Building bombing was in line with volunteer efforts after other disasters. The integrated theory of volunteer work is a useful framework for studying volunteering after disasters.
KEY WORDS: Volunteers; Terrorism; Oklahoma; Disaster Relief; Volunteer Work.

Stefan, S. (2002). The work experience of people with psychiatric disabilities. In S. Stefan (Ed.), Hollow promises: Employment discrimination against people with mental disabilities. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


This document describes the centrality of work to almost every American and the significance of employment in dividing the two worlds of Americans with psychiatric disabilities. The authors describe the discrimination faced by Americans with severe emotional difficulties, psychiatric diagnoses, or histories of treatment. Individuals who are successfully employed are often compelled to keep their diagnoses secret and face discounting or disbelief if they reveal their struggles. People who are publicly labeled as mentally ill cannot get competitive jobs and are consigned to volunteer work, part-time work, or work that makes little use of their skills and strengths. Also summarized and critiqued is the existing research on the relationship between work and psychiatric disabilities.
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