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Stipends in Volunteer Civic Service: Inclusion, Retention, and Volunteer Benefits

Authors


Amanda Moore McBride is an an associate professor and associate dean in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, director of the Gephardt Institute for Public Service, and research director for the Center for Social Development, all at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests are in civic engagement and national and international service.
E-mail:ammcbride@wustl.edu

Ernest Gonzales is a doctoral student in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests are in productive aging with an emphasis on work and volunteerism in late life.
E-mail:egonzales@wustl.edu

Nancy Morrow-Howell is the Ralph and Muriel Pumphrey Professor of Social Work in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests are in productive and civic engagement in late life.
E-mail:morrow-howell@wustl.edu

Stacey McCrary is a project director in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis.
E-mail:smccrary@wustl.edu

Abstract

What is the role of stipends as an institutional facilitator in volunteer civic service? By examining the relationship of stipend receipt to volunteer diversity, time commitment, and perceived benefits from a longitudinal study of older adults serving in Experience Corps, this article assesses stipend status relative to volunteer sociodemographic characteristics, motivations, intensity and duration of time served, and volunteers’ self-reported benefits. The findings underscore how stipends may promote participant diversity. In particular, stipended older adult volunteers serve for longer periods of time, but their motivations for serving do not differ. Stipended volunteers report higher perceived benefits than nonstipended volunteers. The results suggest that stipends may leverage wider inclusion, increase retention, and contribute to other benefits, but additional research is needed using more controlled and comparative designs.

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