Motivations of older volunteers in three European countries

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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate older volunteers' motivations, with special focus on country differences, considering the kind of activities carried out and age differences. Design/methodology/approach: Using the Volunteer Function Inventory (VFI), the authors measured motivations to volunteer of volunteers aged 50 or older, belonging to organizations engaged in the largest activity sectors of three European countries: The Netherlands (n=468), Germany (n=113) and Italy (n=279), for a total sample size of 860 subjects. Findings: Altruistic motivations are found to be more important for German older volunteers compared to Dutch and Italian older volunteers, but in the latter country they increase with ageing. Older volunteers engaged in selfless activities are more driven by altruistic motivations, especially in Germany and Italy, whereas egoistic motivations on selfish activities are important in all countries. As age increases, older volunteers' emotional gratification goals are pursued especially in Italy, whereas the desire to pursue new knowledge is greater for younger-old volunteers in general, but especially in The Netherlands. Practical implications: The findings are relevant for local, national and European policy makers and NGO-managers concerned with the issue of recruiting and retaining older volunteers - a crucial issue for promoting active ageing outside the labour market. The results show how motivations influence the decision to volunteer in later life and will enable better planning of appropriate recruitment and retention strategies. Originality/value: This research represents, to the authors' knowledge, the first cross-national investigation based on the VFI tool to specifically analyse the motivations of older volunteers across Europe.

Detaljer

Författare
Externa organisationer
  • Italian National Research Centre on Ageing (INRCA)
Forskningsområden

Nyckelord

Originalspråkengelska
Sidor (från-till)704-722
TidskriftInternational Journal of Manpower
Volym33
Utgåva nummer6
StatusPublished - 2012 sep 1
PublikationskategoriForskning
Peer review utfördJa
Externt publiceradJa