Analyzing the Motivational Needs of Volunteerism Among Virginia Adult 4-H Volunteers

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Virginia Tech

Understanding volunteer motivation has been widely recognized by both researchers and administrators as a valuable component of program development. Thus, it is important to explore the motivational needs that contribute to Virginia adult 4-H volunteerism. This quantitative research study was designed to fill a gap in the current volunteer literature regarding our understanding of the motivational needs of Virginia adult 4-H volunteers. The following research questions guided this study:

  1. What are the motivations of Virginia adult 4-H volunteers and how are these volunteers distributed in terms of their primary motivational need (power, achievement, or affiliation)?
  2. What is the relationship between motivational needs (power, achievement, and affiliation) and volunteer satisfaction as self-reported by Virginia adult 4-H volunteers?
  3. To what extent are Virginia adult 4-H volunteers motivated to volunteer for Virginia 4-H?
  4. To what extent do motivational needs (power, achievement, and affiliation) differ in urban and rural Virginia adult 4-H volunteers?
  5. What are the most prevalent youth experiences influencing adult 4-H volunteerism in Virginia 4-H?

Data were collected from 296 Virginia 4-H volunteers via a 20-item questionnaire utilizing McClelland's Trichotomy of Needs Theory. The results showed that the top three motives for volunteering with Virginia 4-H were within the achievement and power subscales and included to teach and lead others, to improve the community, and to have an influence on how young people learn and grow. Further, a significant positive relationship was revealed between motivational needs (achievement, affiliation, and power) and satisfaction level. Results also indicated that the majority of Virginia adult 4-H volunteers described their current motivational level as "motivated." Additionally, no significant differences were found between the motivational needs of urban and rural Virginia adult 4-H volunteers and 4-H involvement was the most prevalent youth experience that influenced the decision to volunteer for 4-H. Based on the results of this study, implications and recommendations for practice and further research were suggested.

Volunteer, 4-H, Motivation