Motivations and Benefits of Student Volunteering: Comparing Regular, Occasional, and Non-Volunteers in Five Countries

Karen Smith, Kirsten Holmes, Debbie Haski-Leventhal, Ram A Cnaan, Femida Handy, Jeffrey L Brudney


Programmes targeting student volunteering and service learning are part of encouraging civic behaviour amongst young people. This article reports on a large scale international survey comparing volunteering amongst tertiary students at universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The data revealed high rates of student volunteering and the popularity of occasional or episodic volunteering. There were strong commonalities in student volunteering behaviour, motivations and benefits across the five Western predominately English-speaking countries. Altruism and self-orientated career motivations and benefits were most important to students; however volunteering and non-volunteering students differed in the relative value they attached to volunteering for CV-enhancement and social factors.


Volunteering; Voluntary action; University students; Cross-cultural research; Motivations / Bénévolat; Action bénévole; Étudiants universitaires; Recherches interculturelles; Motivations

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