Understanding and encouraging volunteerism and community involvement

Arthur A. Stukas, Mark Snyder, E. Gil Clary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Volunteerism and community involvement have been demonstrated to offer benefits both to communities and to volunteers themselves. However, not every method to encourage these behaviors is equally effective in producing committed volunteers. Drawing on relevant theoretical and empirical literatures, we identify features of efforts that are likely to produce intrinsically motivated other-oriented volunteers and those that may produce extrinsically motivated self-oriented volunteers. In particular, we explore ways to socialize young people to help and ways to build a sense of community focused on particular issues. We also examine requirements for community service and other approaches that highlight self-oriented benefits that volunteers may obtain. Finally, we return to a focus on the importance of intrinsic motivation for promoting sustained involvement in volunteers, even as we acknowledge that volunteers who come with extrinsic or self-oriented reasons can still offer much to communities and can be satisfied when their activities match their motivations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 3 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Taylor & Francis.


  • Community involvement
  • extrinsic motivation
  • intrinsic motivation
  • motivation
  • volunteerism


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