Building a Committed Hospice Volunteer Workforce—Do Variables at the Experience Stage Matter?

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ABSTRACT

Volunteers are crucial to the survival of non-profit organisations, who therefore have a fundamental interest in sustaining voluntary engagement over time. A central variable regarding sustained voluntary engagement is volunteers' organisational commitment, which has so far been a neglected research issue. The study at hand therefore explicitly focuses on hospice volunteers' commitment. Starting from the assumption that variables at the experience stage of volunteerism may be relevant in predicting volunteer commitment, questionnaire data on volunteers' motives, motive fulfilment and role identity were collected in a sample of hospice volunteers (N = 276). Results of multiple regression analyses show positive relationships between altruistic motive fulfilment and a volunteer role identity on the one hand and volunteer commitment on the other. Observed interaction effects imply that altruistic motive fulfilment is of importance both at the initial phase of volunteering and for long-term volunteers. Moreover, interaction effects provide evidence that the fulfilment of egoistic motives is of particular importance amongst volunteers to whom egoistic motives are central. Thus, the fulfilment of altruistic motives and facilitating the development of a volunteer role identity should be permanent concerns in building a committed workforce. Egoistic motive fulfilment in contrast is of special relevance, when egoistic motives for volunteering are strong. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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