Motivational theories of volunteering in an integrated framework
Identifying the motivational system behind volunteering has long been the focus of scientific research. The aim of our present study is to analyze and integrate the main directions of research in this field during recent decades in a comparative framework. The study also seeks to demonstrate how fulfilling various needs is related to the longevity, frequency, and nature of volunteering. Our study emphasizes the significance of understanding the motivational structure of volunteering from diverse perspectives. The theories are discussed from two-dimensional (eg altruistic-ego-oriented, explicit-implicit, self-determination theory) to multifactorial (functional analysis) approaches, emphasizing that the diversity of volunteer activities and host organizations, the satisfaction with these associations, and the intensity and frequency of volunteer work all contribute to individual changes in motivational structure and to the decision to become a long term volunteer. Based on the current literature, we can state that most volunteers show a mixed motivational base (altruistic and ego-oriented), and that explicit and implicit as well as extrinsic and intrinsic motives play a role in prosocial engagement. We can highlight that the motivational background of volunteering shows great individual variability, and it may change over time. We may also conclude that it is worth supplementing the questionnaires suitable for the large-scale examination of surface structures with a qualitative methodology that allows the identification of deeper structures.
Keywords: volunteering, motivations, altruism, self-determination theory, implicit-explicit