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How structural factors promote instrumental motivations within youth volunteering: a qualitative analysis of volunteer brokerage

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This article presents a structural, multi-level analysis, showing how volunteering policy, specific volunteering programmes and operational practices in volunteer brokerage organisations promote instrumental motivations in young volunteers. Through evidence drawn from a qualitative study of youth volunteering brokerage workers and volunteering policy-practitioners, it is shown how young people are increasingly pressured into volunteering, and into seeing volunteering as primarily a route into employment. Volunteer recruiters do not challenge these structural factors; instead, employability and easing the transition to work and university form a large part of 'selling' volunteering, with young people encouraged to trade their time for experience. It is concluded that these findings fit into a wider theoretical narrative about the changing nature of volunteering, and have the potential to create significant problems for volunteer-involving organisations.
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Keywords: INSTRUMENTAL MOTIVATIONS; VOLUNTEER BROKERAGE; WORK EXPERIENCE; YOUNG PEOPLE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 July 2014

More about this publication?
  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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