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Governance & Management believes that quality research is the cornerstone of effective practice for nonprofit organisations. This page brings you outcomes of a particular research project. The “Recent Research” page of the Board Matters newsletter always provides more research examples.

Faith-Based Volunteer Motivation

“Increasingly, studies on volunteer motivation are exploring the process stages of volunteerism with particular attention to recruitment and retention. Volunteer experience and its dynamic association to satisfaction, however, remain under-examined, particularly in faith-based contexts.”

In this study, a survey instrument is employed to ascertain the functional motivations of faith-based volunteers in a hybrid social enterprise organisation in Australia. Specifically, the researchers examine decisions to volunteer, satisfaction with service and intentions to continue volunteering. The survey instrument, the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) measures six underlying functions: values, social, enhancement, understanding, protective and career.

The researchers found that the generic nature of VFI limited the exploration of motivational functions of faith-based volunteers and developed a new model called the Faith-Based Volunteer Motivation Scale (FVM). This four-factor model of initial drivers to volunteer includes values, enrichment, social and career.

Findings include:

  • Although both male and female participants deemed the social function as an important initial driver, it appears particularly significant for male volunteers.
  • Faith-based volunteers with eight plus years of volunteering service rate the enrichment scale highly in their perception of principal initial motivators.
  • Although the enrichment factor is significantly indicated for initial volunteering, satisfaction with the volunteering experience is strongly influenced by a perception of positive management practice within the organisation.
'Faith-Based Volunteer Motivation: Exploring the Applicability of the Volunteer Functions Inventory to the Motivations and Satisfaction Levels of Volunteers in an Australian Faith-Based Organisation'
By Bernadine Erasmus and Peter John Morey in Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 27(3): 1343-1360, June 2016.