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Table 1 Summary of articles included in the focused systematic review of EV in the health and social welfare sector

From: A systematic review of episodic volunteering in public health and other contexts

Study details Sample* Volunteering theory Independent variables Outcome/s Main findings
Quantitative studies
Allison [59] 2002 (USA) N = 195 None Method of assessment of motivations (Volunteer Functions Inventory vs. open-ended probe). Frequency of volunteering for MAD • VFI: The most salient motive was values (M = 6.10), followed by understanding (M = 4.76) and esteem (M = 4.37). Average scores on the remaining motives were below the scale mid-point.
22% male.
Quantitative cross-sectional 89% Caucasian.
Served at some point in last 8 yrs.
• Open-ended probe: coded responses most often reflected the esteem motive, followed by the value motive.
Make A Difference
• VFI motives but not motives identified by the open-ended probe measure predicted frequency of volunteering for MAD (R2 = .13)
• Increased VFI value scores (β = .23, p < .05) and decreased VFI social scores (β = -.19, p < .05) significantly predicted an increase in frequency of volunteering for MAD.
Beder [60] 2008 (USA) N = 633 None Event group (four events for different causes and involving varying levels of volunteering) Motivation (Volunteer Motivation Inventory) • The five most highly rated motives overall were values; self-esteem; understanding; reactivity; and protective.
Police crisis fund; young amputees; ovarian cancer; breast cancer.
Quantitative cross-sectional • Participants in the charity event for breast cancer scored higher on the values (expression/action for beliefs of the importance of helping others); interaction (building social networks and enjoyment of interaction with others); and physical (physical challenge and endurance) motives subscales.
• 54.8% overall stated they volunteered for the event because of the cause it represented; and within this 79.8% indicated they volunteered for the breast cancer charity sport event because of the cause.
Filo [70] 2011 (USA) Study 1 N = 568 None Recreation and charitable giving motives. Attachment to the event. • Study 1: social, reciprocity, self-esteem, need to help others, and desire to improve the charity motives predicted event attachment (Adj R2 = .47).
46.3% 40-64 yrs.
Quantitative cross-sectional 74.6% Caucasian.
Prominence of charitable cause in marketing of event (high vs. low prominence). • Study 2: Intellectual, social, physical, escape, reciprocity, self-esteem and desire to improve charity motives predicted event attachment (Adj R2 = .35).
Lance Armstrong Foundation;
Study 2 N = 689 • Stronger contribution of charitable motives for event with more prominent charitable cause vs. stronger contribution of recreation motives for event with less prominent charitable cause.
34% male.
70% 25-44 yrs.
The Capital Area Food Bank of Texas
Filo [74] 2012 (USA) N = 568 None Motives for participating in the event (social, physical, escape, charity); Belief in making a difference Attachment to the event. • Belief in making a difference partially mediated the effect of social and charity motives on attachment.
18-70 yrs.
Quantitative cross-sectional 74.6% Caucasian.
Lance Armstrong Foundation Belief in making a difference. • Significant paths were present from social motives and charity motives to belief in making a difference.
Harrison [16] 1995 (USA) N = 157 Author proposed Theory of Episodic Volunteer Motivation Intention to attend volunteer work at the shelter; Intention to stay home; Intention to socialize or recreate. Volunteer attendance. • Intention to attend volunteer work was a significant and consistent predictor of attendance in all samples.
All male.
Quantitative cross-sectional and prospective Served at least 2 nights previously. • Intentions to attend competing alternatives (home, social/recreate) were predictors of volunteer attendance in the cross-sectional study samples (predicting past volunteer work) but not the prospective study sample.
Homeless shelter
• Experience volunteering appeared to moderate the impact of competing alternatives on attendance.
Attitude; subjective norm; perceived behavioural control; moral obligation. Intention to attend volunteer work at the shelter. • The impact of attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control and moral obligation on attendance was mediated via intention to attend
• In both the cross-sectional and prospective study samples, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, and moral obligation were significant predictors of intention to attend volunteer work. Attitude was a significant predictor of intention to attend volunteer work in the cross-sectional study samples only.
• Experience appeared to moderate intention to attend volunteer work such that the more experienced a volunteer became, the less anticipated satisfaction from volunteer work impacted on their motivation to volunteer.
Haski-Leventhal [32] 2011 (USA) N = 258 None Volunteer type (ongoing vs. episodic) Satisfaction with volunteering; benefits; relationships; relative importance; charitable giving. • EV: 92.8% satisfied with volunteering tasks; 95.7% satisfied with appreciation from families; 94.4% satisfied with appreciation from staff; 88.2% satisfied with their relationships with other volunteers; 59.3% satisfied with their training; 73.3% satisfied with flexibility of volunteering.
No EV specific demographics.
Quantitative cross-sectional Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House
• EV: Appreciation by staff and families (45.7%), free parking (22.7%), and a thank you letter (17.9%) were most important benefits.
• EV: 44.6% formed close relationships with other volunteers.
• EVs donated money to organisation (22.5%) or gave other forms of in-kind support (49.3%).
• Volunteering rated as more important than work (22.1%), leisure (39.7%), and friends/family (7.4%) by some EVs.
• EV’s valued their contribution at US$8.10 per hour (a statistically significant difference to ongoing volunteers who rated their contribution at US$12.06 per hour).
Hustinx [18] 2005 (Belgium) N = 652 Author proposed analytic framework to identify Styles of Volunteering. Structural (e.g. length of service, intensity of involvement) and cultural (e.g. identification with organisation) indicators of volunteering. Style of volunteering • Five different styles of volunteering: episodic contributors, established administrators, reliable co-workers, service-oriented core volunteers, and critical key figures.
No EV specific demographics.
Quantitative cross-sectional Red Cross • 139 (21%) classified as episodic contributors.
• Episodic contributors characterised by: infrequent volunteering (once or several times a year); low number of monthly hours (≤ 4 hours per month); do not perform core activities (e.g. board membership); perform one activity; and identify weakly with the organisation or volunteering.
• Most episodic contributors had been involved ≥ 2 years (1/3 for ≥ 5 years).
Hustinx [14] 2008 (USA) N = 258 Author proposed net cost theory. Type of volunteer (regular vs. episodic) Demographic characteristics; years of volunteering; type of activity; motivations; satisfaction with volunteering; importance of rewards • Compared to regular volunteers, episodic volunteers were more likely to be: younger (Mage = 40.8 yrs); employed full-time; volunteered for less years on average (2.9 yrs); participate in the guest chef program (84%).
Mage = 40.8 yrs.
Quantitative cross-sectional 32.3% were episodic volunteers.
• Compared to regular volunteers, episodic volunteers more frequently: emphasised social motives (e.g., someone asked them to volunteer; friends/family volunteer); felt driven by a civic or religious sense of duty; viewed their contribution as a way to make their community a good place to live; emphasise value-based motives as driving their participation.
Ronald McDonald House Charities
• Regular and episodic volunteers expressed similar levels of satisfaction overall.
• Regular volunteers placed more importance on rewards than episodic volunteers.
• Appreciation by staff and family was the most important reward for both types of volunteers.
Mayer [78] 2007 (USA) N = 93 team leaders None Organisational-based self-esteem; Frequency and length of participation. Motivation (Volunteer Functions Inventory); Organisational-based self-esteem; • Values, social, understanding and sense of worth motives had highest mean ratings.
Quantitative cross-sectional 28% male. • Understanding, sense of worth, social, and values (but not career) motives were significantly related to organisational-based self-esteem.
72% 21-50 yrs.
91% Caucasian
American Cancer Society • People who volunteered more often (>10 days per yr), and for a longer time (> 10 yrs) had higher organisational-based self-esteem scores than those who volunteered for <10 days per yr and for <10 yrs.
• There was no difference on organisational-based self-esteem scores as a function of intention to continue volunteering for more or less than 15 yrs.
Rundio [80] 2014 (USA) N = 170 None Event type (Cause vs. non-cause-related). Motives (revised version of Motivations of Marathoners scale). • Most important motives for participation in cause-related events were: personal goal achievement, general health orientation, self-esteem, weight concern, and affiliation with others.
Mage = 37.16 yrs.
Quantitative cross-sectional 43.5% male.
Cancer; Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Snelgrove [67] 2010 (USA) N = 206 None Motives for participation. Experience (first-time vs. repeat participants). • For first time participants, strongest motivators were physicality, a desire to support others, and socializing.
Mage = 41.3 yrs.
Quantitative cross-sectional 61% male. • For repeat participants, strongest motivators were supporting others, cycling identity, and physicality.
MS society
• Repeat participants compared to first-time participants had a significantly stronger MS fundraiser and cycling identity; and a significantly lower physicality motive.
Won [77] 2010 (USA) N = 211 None Motives for participation; Satisfaction with the event; future intention to participate in the event. • Motives for participating in charity sport events were represented by a six-factor solution that explained 66.2% of the variance.
41% male.
Quantitative cross-sectional Mage = 35 yrs. Gender; Age.
92.9% Caucasian. • These motives were: Philanthropy (altruistic motivations, helping the cause or organisation); Social/Entertainment (social needs, enjoyment); External/Benefits (future benefits from the event); Family needs (satisfying family needs); Sports (enjoyment of sport activities); and Group collaboration (working together as a group).
Participated in event for 2.83 yrs on average.
American Cancer Society
• Philanthropy was the most important motive followed by Family needs, Group Collaboration, and Social/Entertainment.
• The motives explained 44% of the variance in satisfaction with the event and 15% of the variance in intention to participate in future.
• Increased Philanthropy (β = .58) and reduced External/Benefits (β = -.14) motives significantly predicted Satisfaction with the event.
• Increased Philanthropy (β = .35) and increased Family needs (β = .15) motives were significant predictors of intention to return in future.
• Philanthropy was a significantly more important motive for females than males.
• External/Benefits was a significantly more important motive for males than females.
• Younger participants (especially younger males), compared to older participants viewed Social/Entertainment as a more important motive.
Won [75] 2011 (USA) N = 247 None Participation type (voluntary – own choice vs. non-voluntary – asked by someone else to participate) Information source for volunteering and charity-related information; motivation to participate; constraints • 66.1% stated friends/relatives as the primary source of event information.
20.6% male.
Quantitative cross-sectional Mage = 37.0 yrs. • Based on confirmatory factor analysis of the underlying motivational structure, the key motivations for participation were: supporting the MS society, socialisation, and sport.
70.9% Caucasian.
Multiple Sclerosis Society
• Based on confirmatory factor analysis of constraints showed that external constraints (access, cost, social isolation) served as greater barriers to participation than internal constraints (lack of interest, time or energy).
• Compared to voluntary participants, non-voluntary participants (asked by someone else) were more motivated by social aspects of the event, and were more likely to return to an event in future if they are asked to participate.
• Voluntary participants were more likely than non-voluntary participants to return to an event of their own free will and were more likely to donate in future.
Wood [69] 2010 (Canada) N = 206 None Self-identity; social identity; demographics; location; type of involvement (team or individual) Past event participation; Past amount fundraised. • Four segments of volunteers were identified: event enthusiasts (cause and sport identity; 31%); cause fundraisers (cause only identity; 13%); road warriors (sport only identity; 36%); and non-identifiers (20%).
62.6% male.
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
Quantitative cross-sectional • The event enthusiasts segment raised more money on average and differed significantly from road warriors and non-identifiers (but not cause fundraisers).
• Event enthusiasts (M = 7.17 events) reported significantly greater past event participation than all other segments.
Qualitative studies
Filo [72] 2008 (USA) N = 31 None None Attraction to the charity sport event; charitable giving; motives • Motives (intellectual, social, competency, reciprocity, self-esteem, need to help others, and desire to improve the charity) contribute to attraction to the event.
61.3% male.
Qualitative cross-sectional 100% Caucasian.
Lance Armstrong Foundation • The charitable aspect of the event informed social and competency motives and strengthened the connection felt to the event.
Filo [73] 2009 (USA) N = 35 None None Participant attachment to the event • Three themes emerged that were proposed to inform attachment to the event: camaraderie (e.g., being part of something bigger for a common cause, belonging, solidarity, surrounded by like-minded others); cause (making a difference by raising awareness and supporting a worthy cause, inspiring and being inspired by others); and competency (health and fitness, physical challenge, enjoyment).
50% male.
Qualitative cross-sectional 96.9% Caucasian.
Lance Armstrong Foundation
Filo [71] 2013 (USA) N = 46 None None Brint’s (2001) typology of Gemeinschaft-like structural and cultural properties of community • Five of the six properties of community were present: dense and demanding social ties; social attachments to and involvement in institutions; ritual occasions; perceptions of similarity with others; and common beliefs in an ideas system, moral order, institution or group.
40-64 yrs.
Qualitative cross-sectional 89% Caucasian.
Lance Armstrong Foundation
Scott [66] 2003 (USA) N =11 None None Motivation for participation and experience at event. • Motives for participation in order of most salient: personal connection to the illness; social benefits; supporting the cause/community obligation; fitness; fundraising.
30-50 yrs.
27.3% male.
• Experience at event (what they saw, how it made them feel): participants commented on survivors, pink shirts, bald women, number of people attending; and corporate sponsorship and support. Participants consistently reported mixed emotions.
Qualitative cross-sectional 91% Caucasian.
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Snelgrove [68] 2013 (Canada) N = 57 None None Formation of attachment to the event • Participants developed attachment to the event in three ways: 1) being known as a fundraiser (e.g. public recognition, close others and society aware they were doing good for the organisation); 2) aligning self and cause (e.g. increased their comfort telling others and talking about their disease); and 3) developing social bonds (e.g. feeling part of a larger group working toward a common goal of ending MS; walking for loved ones initially but then over time this extended to people they met at the walk and people with MS who they did not know).
10% male.
18-57 yrs.
Qualitative cross-sectional
Involved in event for ≥ 5 years.
Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada
Quantitative and Qualitative
Hendriks [65] 2013 (Netherlands) N = 189 None Motivation for participating Personas • Six factors explained 62.4% of variance in motivations. These were: well-being (e.g. enjoy the sport and a healthy lifestyle); humanity (e.g. support those affected by cancer, participate to remember a loved one); social (e.g. to be with friends, to increase self-image or social worth); cause (e.g. support the cause or the organisation); empowerment (e.g. make cancer a national priority); and personal (e.g. personally affected by cancer/survivor).
67.2% male.
Mage = 42.02 yrs.
Quantitative and qualitative cross-sectional 74.1% first time participants.
Alpe d’HuZes event (Cancer)
• Four personas created based on clustering of motivations: health junkies (motivated by well-being factor, 20%); promoters (motivated by cause and empowerment factors, 28.8%); legends (motivated by personal factor, 29.6%); and caretakers (motivated by social factor, 21.6%).
  1. *Details included where specified.