Why they volunteer : a study of participants at nature conservancy work parties Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/s4655k100

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  • This thesis examines the motivations of ecological restoration volunteers with the Oregon chapter of The Nature Conservancy. This study helps fill in voids left by a lack of research on the motivations of ecological restoration volunteers. Studies that have explored restoration volunteer motivation relied largely on surveys that revealed altruistic motivations for volunteering. I conducted participant observation at thirteen work parties and ethnographic interviews with eighteen volunteers from June 2005 through October 2005 with three main objectives: 1) to determine the motivations of work party volunteers, 2) to determine the likes and dislikes of those volunteers that pertain directly to work parties and the volunteer program, and 3) to make recommendations to the Oregon chapter of The Nature Conservancy about ways to increase volunteer recruitment and retention at work parties. I then analyzed field and interview notes using thematic analysis to identify the personal motivations of each volunteer. Data analysis revealed three distinct categories of motivations: start-up motivations, motivations that played a primary role in continuing volunteer participation, and motivations that played a supporting role in continuing participation as well as volunteer satisfaction or dissatisfaction at work parties. Although many motivations played a role in volunteer participation on work parties, the results of this study suggest that both tangible and intangible personal gains play a greater role in volunteer commitment than purely altruistic motives. Ten recommendations stem from the findings of this study. In order to increase volunteer recruitment, I recommend the following: I) emphasize benefits of volunteering in brochures and advertisements; 2) encourage current volunteers to bring friends and family on work parties; 3) present more pictures of preserves in brochures and advertisements; 4) appeal to potential volunteers' need for recreational experiences; 5) create partnerships with local schools and teachers in order to encourage more students to participate. In order to increase volunteer retention, I recommend the following: 6) provide more opportunities for recreation during work parties; 7) increase opportunities for volunteers to socialize; 8) take more time to educate volunteers prior to and during work parties; 9) present volunteers with information (oral and visual) about accomplishments of work parties at preserves; 10) stewards need to understand their personal role in increasing volunteer satisfaction.
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