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Participation in voluntary associations: How membership in a formal organization changes the rewards of participation

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

wnen an individual decides to volunteer he or she does so for some reason, or reasons; the reasons are personal and, no doubt, vary from the altruistic to the venal. When voluntary associations recruit volunteers they appeal to what they assume to be their members' reasons for volunteering. Yet, it is argued here that participation in formal organizations, itself, changes the reasons why volunteers participate. The rewards individuals expected from volunteering are often not the rewards most salient to them once they have become volunteers. Further, this shift in the rewards of volunteering, if not anticipated and managed, can result in the rapid departure of many new volunteers.

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