The Volunteering Study
Communities rely on the unpaid work of volunteers, but finding and keeping volunteers can be challenging. Although many Australians do volunteer, this number has been dropping. This project aims to look at the relationship between personality and attraction to volunteering. Previous research has found that people who are high on extraversion and agreeableness are more likely to volunteer (Elshaug & Metzer, 2001).
With this project we are looking to understand how individuals’ personalities interact with the characteristics of volunteer roles and volunteer organisations to affect attraction to volunteer activities. We want to know what work characteristics and what organisational values appeal to which personalities so that we can attract people who don’t normally volunteer to start volunteering. By increasing the amount of people who are attracted to volunteering we can recruit a larger pool of volunteers, helping volunteer organisations reduce the time and resources they usually use towards recruiting and use these resources for other things that can benefit the community.
The issue we are facing is that only certain kinds of people tend to volunteer, people who are highly extraverted and agreeable. We want to know how to attract all kinds of people, people who may not necessarily have these traits. By increasing the amount of people who are attracted to volunteering we can attract a larger pool of volunteers. This will help volunteer organisations attract and keep more volunteers which will allow them to reduce the time and resources they usually use towards recruiting and use these resources to put back into the community they are helping.
What do people need to do to take part?
Our first step is to survey people who are currently volunteering in order to find out what relationships there are between personality, work characteristics, values, people’s satisfaction, and their intention to keep volunteering. This is where we need people who volunteer at least once a month to help us find the answers! If you volunteer regularly and want to be a part of the study you will be asked to participate in two parts of the survey. The first part is as soon as you sign up, which will take around 30 minutes, the second part will be sent to you two months after the first part, which will take approximately 10 minutes.
What will you do with the information?
With our findings we want to develop recruitment ads to test whether we can attract people who are traditionally “non-volunteers” to volunteer. We will test this by creating many different recruitment ads that emphasize different characteristics or values and see which personalities are attracted to which characteristics or values. This will allow us to increase the volunteering pool in general and help us help volunteer organisations find the right people.
How will this study impact the community? What are the benefits to those taking part?
The findings of this project will allow volunteer organisations to get more volunteers and potentially have people volunteering longer, meaning they will spend less time and money on recruiting new people. This means that volunteer organisations will have more time and resources to dedicate to supporting the community and helping those in need.