CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Working Paper 43: Measuring Volunteering: A Behavioral Approach

December 31st, 2005
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by Chris Toppe

December 2005graph

“This article presents the results of studying two different forms of probing about volunteering. One is the standard perceptual approach used by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in which respondents are asked if they volunteer. The other is an experimental approach that uses behavioral prompts in which respondents are asked if they did certain things or performed certain behaviors. These two sets of questions were asked of the same respondents in the same survey, using the same data collection organization, the US Bureau of the Census that conducts the annual BLS survey of volunteering, thus eliminating many of the common sources of measurement error. The results show that behavioral prompts are more accurate than the perceptual prompts in identifying who is and isn’t a volunteer. Behavioral prompts result in higher estimates of volunteer engagement (more are classified as volunteers) and higher levels of commitment (more volunteer hours are captured).”

Download here (PDF).

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One Response to “Working Paper 43: Measuring Volunteering: A Behavioral Approach”

  1. Unterwäsche Says:

    Interessting article. We were working with a lot of different approaches in order to motivation youngsters to join european projects (such as going abroad and doing social work / helping communities…). While doing this we were using different Motivation strategies (some more / some less succesful).

    This paper is a good summary and quite useful. I will send a link of this site to my friends (who are still involved in youth work), so they will take a look.