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A functional approach to understanding the volunteer process was applied to 192 predominantly long-term hospice volunteers. The relationships among volunteer antecedents (motives), experiences (motive fulfillment, satisfaction), and outcomes (time spent volunteering, length of service) were examined. Participants reported greater satisfaction the more their experiences fulfilled their motivations for helping. Satisfaction also predicted time spent volunteering although not volunteer longevity. The amount of time volunteers devoted to the hospice and length of service were only weakly related to either motive or motive fulfillment. Results suggest that motivations for helping should be determined early in the volunteering process in order to match individuals with tasks they will find most rewarding. Less motivated or satisfied individuals may offer less time to the organization but remain volunteers in good standing for many years.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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