Motivations and Benefits of Volunteering

3191 words (13 pages) Essay in Cultural Studies

23/09/19 Cultural Studies Reference this

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“An exploratory research into the motivations and perceived benefits of volunteering in social enterprises in Edinburgh area.”

Aims: To investigate what drives individuals to give away personal resources, such as time and effort, for wellbeing of others. To investigate the relevant theories on the motivation to volunteer. To explore the perceptions of volunteers on benefits


Introduction 156w

Defining the “Volunteer” 300w

Social enterprises and volunteering in Edinburgh 500w

Motivation to volunteer 400w

Motivational theories 500w

Employee empowerment to volunteer 300w

Benefits of Volunteering 500w

Rationale for this study 150

Summary and Conclusion 150

References’Ecosystem’_for_Social_Enterprise (GOOD ONE) (GOOD)

Literature Review Chapter Two 3000w

Introduction 156w

The main aim of this study is to investigate the drivers that motivate individuals to give away their personal resources, such as time and effort and what benefits they get after doing so. As a result of this, this chapter will explore the relevant literature, the purpose of which is to provide the base upon which the research can be built, as it is impossible to perform substantial research without understanding the past or present literature in the field (Boote & Beile, 2005).

Kowalczyk and Truluck (2013) identify a literature review as a foundation of any study and a key to successful research, which helps to develop a well-structured and unified research project and also helps to identify the gaps in existent literature by creating a research question.

The key themes of this chapter include the definition of volunteers, social enterprises in Edinburgh, motivation to volunteer and relevant theories, employee empowerment and perceived benefits of volunteering.

Defining the “Volunteer” 366w

The origins of the term “volunteer” rise from 1750th in the military in times of war, as the term was applied to civilians who were mobilized for military service in times of emergency and were not paid or ranked for their service. Today, however, the volunteer term does not apply to soldiers as they are considered as paid professionals Christiansen-Ruffman, L. (1990).

In modern context the clear definition of volunteering is non-existent as it’s usually gets overlapped with different areas of life such as activism and care work as discussed by Rochester, Ellis Paine, and Howlett (2010), however, authors identify common characteristics of volunteer work as being unpaid, freely undertaken and beneficial to others. This characteristic also has been presented by Musick and Wilson (2008) and Monga (2006) who also add that not only donation of time should be perceived as volunteering, but a donation of time for the correct reasons – such as helping others.

To clarify the meaning of the term some of the definitions were reviewed as found in the literature and they all tend to outline very similar volunteer activities in some way or another. For instance, Shure (1991) defines volunteers as “persons who offer themselves for the service without obligation to do so, willingly and without pay”, similarly Adams (1985) stated that volunteers are “individuals who work in some way to help others without any reward” and lastly Ellis and Noyes (1990) narrowing the definition by stating “To volunteer is to choose to act in recognition of a need, with an attitude of social responsibility and without concern for monetary profit, going beyond one’s basic obligations” (p. 4).

However, there are also disagreements as not all the individuals that perform voluntary activities can be defined as volunteers, for example, an individual that enrols in the army or is a subject in a medical study is not considered as a volunteer Cnnan (1996).

Volunteers can have different demographic factors, such as age, sex, occupation, religion, and also possess a range of different skills and knowledge that can be shared, therefore the roles that volunteers can undertake are very varied and wide, which in return creates a diverse variety of volunteers (Monga, 2006).

Social Enterprise (215)

The history of “Social Enterprises” goes back to 1990th, states Shaw et al. (2013) when devasted citizens and disadvantaged communities have turned to ask for help from private entrepreneurs after changes in political, economic and environmental scenarios, where worlds wealth was distributed unequally, and poverty and related problems ascended. In return, private entrepreneurs were able to create innovative and sustainable resolutions to social problems, which lately have drawn the interest of academic researchers.

“Social Entrepreneurship” is all about identifying social issues in local communities and achieving social change by employing entrepreneurial principles. In other words, “Social Enterprises” are organisations, that are researching and defining particular social problems and then organising the ventures to address and resolve these problems. Some social issues may not have a resolution and might be present for a long time, for example, homelessness or drug abuse, however for some projects it can be a lifetime process, focusing on the improvements. The literature on the subject supports this view by stating, that Social Enterprises are activities in which commercial models are used to achieve social objectives (Nicholls 2006; Thompson 2008), other authors as Chell, Nicolopoulou, & Karatas-Özkan (2010) also agree on the above statement, by mentioning that Social Entrepreneurship consists of activities that intend to create an innovative delivery of the products.

Social Enterprise in Scotland (280)

Despite the idea behind the Social Entrepreneurship being the same in every country across the globe, the institutional forms and practices of such ventures can differ due to socio-economic, political, cultural and religious variances. For example, Mills (2013), in his article “Social enterprise in Asia and Europe – learning from each other”, mentioned that Asia is more economically developed and technologically advanced than Europe, therefore the nature of Social Entrepreneurship differ from Europe, as social challenges have a different scale.

In the UK the number of social enterprises is unclear, as they operate under a variety of legal forms, as England and Scotland is regulated differently under the two separate legal systems and considered as two different geographical states with distinct political and social cultures, therefore the development of Social Enterprises is different (Drencheva and Stephan, 2014., Aiken, 2006).

Roy et al. (2015) in his article “The most supportive environment in the world”? stated, that Scotland is to be considered the most supportive environment in the world for the Social Enterprise because it has a complex support system to encourage the growth of Social Enterprise in different ways. There are many organisations that help social entrepreneurs in Scotland, for example Social Enterprise Scotland, that focus on bringing all the social enterprises together for a networking opportunity; Social Entrepreneurs Network for Scotland, which help social entrepreneurs to be more effective; Community Business   Network for Scotland, that helps communities to become more sustainable, and many more.

According to Coburn (2017), who is a director of “Census” Annual Social Enterprise in Scotland report, there are 5,600 social enterprises that currently operate in Scotland, bringing £3.8 bln to the Scottish economy and supporting 81.375 employees.

Social Enterprise and Volunteering in Edinburgh. 289

Likewise, counting on Impact Report by (2017), there are 250 registered social enterprises in Edinburgh area, that have estimated turnover of £133 mln annually and supported by 13,568 people who are employees, volunteers and trainees. Social Enterprises in Edinburgh tackle many social issues by empowering and supporting vulnerable members of society; tackling mental health issues and promoting a healthy lifestyle; helping isolated individuals to connect with the society; helping to tackle the environmental issues; encouraging young and much more. Moreover, Edinburgh Social Enterprises offer a great variety of products and services to the community, which include: education, support, recreational activities, fair trade sale products, workshops and others.

“Edinburgh Social Enterprise” membership-based organisation brings all the Social Enterprises in Edinburg and surrounding areas together. They support social entrepreneurs in many ways and aim to deliver social and economic change in Edinburgh, by creating the opportunities for entrepreneurs and community, by constantly in search for volunteers and by a partnership with many other organisations, that provide networking opportunities, Edinburgh Social Enterprise (2018).

The most inspiring Social Enterprises in Edinburgh are: Social Bite, that was founded by Josh Littlejohn in 2012, which is very well known in UK, as the founder got endorsed by Bill Clinton, George Clooney and Richard Branson and committed to non-profit cause-driven business and employs homeless people in his cafes; Lingo Flamingo, is another Edinburgh based Social Enterprise, which was set by Robbie Norval and helps older adults to postpone the effects of dementia by learning new languages; Lastly, Link Group Ltd, is one of Scotland’s biggest Social Enterprises and was shortlisted as the Social Enterprise of the year in 2018, the mission of which is to deliver sustained housing for the ones in need, Smith (2017).

Motivation to volunteer 275w

Much academic attention has been given to the volunteer motivation topic throughout the years as the social phenomenon of “helping others” has had a positive effect on entire communities and even cultures. However, it is still extremely difficult to define what motivates individuals to give away their time, talent and energies to others with no expectation of any financial reward (Connors, 2011).

There are different ways to volunteer, which can be done through charity work, social work, sports event volunteering and through the employment and educational institutions. Consequently, there are different motives and reasons to volunteer, which can be guided by different perspectives.

 Stebbins (2004) explains volunteering motivations through leisure perspective, where volunteering is associated with enjoyable or satisfying experience, which could be classed as serious, casual or project-based volunteering. For example, participating in a marathon or festival would be a one-off or occasional experience for volunteer, with the main reason for volunteering is self-interest, with the purpose of an enjoyable experience.

Likewise, Snyder (1993) highlighted the importance of personal and social functions served by thoughts, feeling and actions of volunteer, which he classed as a functional model. This model holds, that people volunteer in order to fulfil their social and psychological functions, and different individuals will have different functions to satisfy, even when performing the same activities.

From an economic perspective that was mentioned by Handy et al. (2010), volunteer-supplied labour is considered to be a service that is provided by the volunteer in exchange for non-monetary goods. For example, students use their voluntary experience to highlight their skills, knowledge and highlight their experience to potential employers, that might make them the perfect candidate.

Motivational theories 500w

Poston (2009) presents that human motivation can be explained using Maslow’s (1943) ‘hierarchy of needs’ theory, where theorist recognises five stages of human needs, which are: physiological, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation. The theory concludes that all the basic needs in the hierarchy need to be satisfied before the individual can move on the next stage of more complex needs.

The subject of motivation to volunteer widely discussed by Meijs and Metz (2014), authors recognise the functional approach as the most important theoretical stream in the volunteering area. In this approach, the motivation to volunteer is determined by the functions that volunteering can fulfil for the volunteer. Musick and Wilson (2008) also address that the benefits of volunteering on volunteer can be perceived as a strong motivator.

Employee empowerment to volunteer 300w

Benefits of Volunteering 500w

Rationale for this study 150

Summary and Conclusion 150


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