Voluntary motives to participate in community enterprise activity
This study was concerned with the symbolic costs and benefits associated with different stages of volunteering, from the perspective of 222 participants engaged in three types of community enterprise activity across Scotland. Costs and benefits were set within a social exchange/incentive framework based on the approach of Clark and Wilson (1961). The study was mainly cross-sectional in design and involved a survey-based approach using a structured questionnaire. A related but separate longitudinal component was based on a standard measure of perceived control. The latter was used to explore the issue of empowerment amongst volunteers in general and in a follow up of 26 volunteers. The results generally showed that homogeneity does not rule across or within groups of volunteers. Community enterprise volunteers represented a distinct socio-economic grouping compared to UK populations and associated participation with a range of both costs and benefits. While volunteers were like UK groups and initially participated for mainly purposive reasons, the reasons for continuing participation and remaining involved, despite the associated costs, were instrumental and largely concerned with maintaining organisational achievement. Additionally, while people associated volunteering with a variety of benefits, those relating to perceived control and empowerment were minimal. There was no significant longitudinal evidence established for the latter construct. In contrast to benefits, while initial costs were largely opportunity related, the main costs of continued and retained participation concerned relationships with members, other volunteers and local people. Although there was significant inter-model variation in the reasons for participation at different stages, socio-demographic and organisational variables had a minimal role as moderator variables. The results were discussed in terms of previous research findings and their implications for future research.