In this thesis, I seek to identify the best practices that can lead to an increase in community service and volunteerism. After the loss of my mentor led me on a path to make a difference through community service, I decided that volunteerism is an especially important area of interest to understand. Through secondary research, I have identified the many benefits of volunteerism specifically mental health, professional development, and more. Then to explain what drives people to volunteer, I investigate three major theoretical frameworks which are self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan), functional theory (Clary and Snyder), and social responsibility theory (Cheng et al) and relate them to peoples’ motivation to volunteer. In addition to looking into these theories, it is important to understand some additional factors which are the effect of mandatory volunteerism, age, and the missions of different organizations on an individual’s desire to volunteer. After analyzing the prior research, I found that social responsibility drives group volunteerism, functional motivation is what explains individuals’ drives to participate in community service, and the self-determination can help explain what creates strong volunteer retention. Furthermore, mandatory volunteerism, age, and the goals of organizations can have signifigant impacts on people’s drive to get involved in community service. After investigating the prior research, I interviewed four managers of non-profits to see if their views aligned with my findings. There answers and views were found to be consistent with the ideas I drew from prior research and helped me conclude that organization must factor age, mandatory volunteerism, and the mission of their non-profit into recruitment and retention efforts. Furthermore, non-profits should understand social responsibility theory and functional theory to recruit volunteers effectivly, and self-determination theory to retain their volunteers.
- Identifying Best Practices for Increasing Involvement in Volunteerism and Philanthropy
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