Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Time and money volunteering among older adults: the relationship between past and current volunteering and correlates of change and stability

  • NAMKEE G. CHOI (a1) and RITA JING-ANN CHOU (a2)
Abstract

Using data from the first and second waves of the Survey of Midlife Development in the United States – MIDUS1 1995–1996 and MIDUS2 2004–2006, this paper examines the relationship between the extent of time and money volunteering among people aged 55 or more years at baseline and those of the same age nine years later. Following an analysis of the changes and stability in volunteering status, the paper examines the relationships between change or stability in volunteering and various socio-demographic attributes of the respondents and measures of their human capital, cultural capital and social capital. A majority of older volunteers of time and/or money were repeat volunteers, and the extent of volunteering at the start of the studied period was one of the most significant predictors of the extent of volunteering nine years later. The level of education was a consistent predictor of the extent of both time and money volunteering and of new engagement and stability in volunteering. Social network size, or social connectedness, represented by the number of various meetings attended, was a significant predictor not only of the hours of time volunteering, but also of new engagement and stability in both time and money volunteering. A high degree of religious identification also appeared to be a motivation for money volunteering and to affect the value of donations. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the findings for the recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Namkee Choi, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, D3500Austin, TX78712-0358, USA E-mail: nchoi@mail.utexas.edu
References
Hide All
Adelman, P. K. 1994. Multiple roles and psychological well-being in a national sample of older adults. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 49, 6, S277–85.
Adloff, F. 2009. What encourages charitable giving and philanthropy? Aging & Society, 29, 8, 1185–205.
Amato, P. 1990. Personality and social network involvement as predictors of helping behavior in everyday life. Social Psychology Quarterly, 53, 1, 3143.
Apinunmahakul, A. and Devlin, R. A. 2008. Social networks and private philanthropy. Journal of Public Economics, 92, 1/2, 309–28.
Brim, O. G., Ryff, C. D. and Kessler, R. C. 2004. The MIDUS national survey: an overview. In Brim, O. G., Ryff, C. D. and Kessler, R. C. (eds), How Healthy Are We? University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 134.
Brooks, A. C. 2007. Income tax policy and charitable giving. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 26, 3, 599612.
Brown, E. and Ferris, J. M. 2007. Social capital and philanthropy: an analysis of the impact of social capital on individual giving and volunteering. Nonprofit and Volunteer Sector Quarterly, 36, 1, 8599.
Bryant, W. K., Jeon-Slaughter, H., Kang, H. and Tax, A. 2003. Participation in philanthropic activities: donating money and time. Journal of Consumer Policy, 26, 1, 4373.
Bureau of Labor Statistics 2009. Volunteering in the United States, 2008. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington DC. Available online at www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/volun.pdf [Accessed 20 October 2009].
Burr, J. A., Mutchler, J. E. and Caro, F. G. 2007. Productive activity clusters among middle-aged and older adults: intersecting forms and time commitments. Journal of Gerontology, 62B, 4, S267–75.
Center on Philanthropy 2007. American Express Chartable Gift Survey. Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University, Indianapolis. Available online at www.philanthropy.iupui.edu [Accessed 21 October 2009].
Chambre, S. M. 1993. Volunteerism by elders: past trends and future prospects. The Gerontologist, 33, 2, 221–8.
Chappell, N. L. and Prince, M. J. 1997. Reasons why Canadian seniors volunteer. Canadian Journal of Aging, 16, 2, 336–53.
Choi, N. G., Burr, J., Mutchler, J. and Caro, F. 2007. Formal and informal volunteer activity and spousal caregiving among older adults. Research on Aging, 29, 2, 129.
Conley, D. 2000. The racial wealth gap: origins and implications for philanthropy in the African American community. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 29, 4, 530–40.
Fraser, J., Clayton, S., Sickler, J. and Taylor, A. 2009. Belonging at the zoo: retired volunteers, conservation activism and collective identity. Ageing & Society, 29, 3, 353–70.
Freeman, R. B. 1997. Working for nothing: the supply of volunteer labor. Journal of Labor Economics, 15, 1, S140–66.
Gallagher, S. K. 1994. Doing their share: comparing patterns of help given by older and younger adults. Journal of Marriage and Family, 56, 3, 567–78.
Giving USA Foundation 2008. Giving USA 2008. Giving USA Foundation, Glenview, Illinois.
Greenfield, E. A. and Marks, N. F. 2004. Formal volunteering as a protective factor for older-adults' psychological well-being. Journal of Gerontology, 59B, 5, S258–64.
Harris, A. H. and Thoreson, C. E. 2005. Volunteering is associated with delayed mortality in older people: analysis of the Longitudinal Study of Aging. Journal of Health Psychology, 10, 6, 739–52.
Heiser, R. S. 2006. Normative influences in donation decisions. Journal of Nonprofit and Public Sector Marketing, 15, 1/2, 127–49.
Herzog, A. R., Kahn, R. L., Morgan, J. N., Jackson, J. S. and Antonucci, T. C. 1989. Age differences in productive activities. Journal of Gerontology, 44, 4, S126–38.
Herzog, A. R. and Morgan, J. N. 1993. Formal volunteer work among older Americans. In Bass, S., Caro, F. and Chen, Y. P. (eds), Achieving a Productive Ageing Society. Greenwood, Westport, Connecticut, 119–41.
Hurd, M. 2009. Inter-vivos giving by older people in the United States: who received financial gifts from the childless? Ageing & Society, 29, 8, 1207–25.
James, R. N. III and Sharpe, D. L. 2007. The nature and causes of the U-shaped charitable giving profile. Nonprofit and Volunteer Sector Quarterly, 36, 2, 218–38.
Li, Y. 2007. Recovering from spousal bereavement in later life: does volunteer participation play a role? Journal of Gerontology, 62B, 4, S257–66.
Li, Y. and Ferraro, K. F. 2005. Volunteering and depression in later life: social benefit or selection processes? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46, 1, 6884.
Markham, W. T. and Bonjean, C. M. 1996. Employment status and the attitudes and behavior of higher status women volunteers, 1975 and 1992: a case study. Sex Roles, 34, 9/10, 695716.
McAdams, D. P. and de St. Aubin, E. 1992. A theory of generativity and its assessment through self-report, behavioral acts, and narrative themes in autobiography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 6, 1003–15.
Moen, P., Erickson, W. A., Agarwal, M., Fields, V. and Todd, L. 2000. Cornell Retirement and Well-being Study. Final report, Bronfenbrenner Life Course Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Mutchler, J., Burr, J. and Caro, F. 2003. From paid worker to volunteer: leaving the paid workforce and volunteering in later life. Social Forces, 81, 4, 1267–94.
Narushima, M. 2005. ‘Payback time’: community volunteering among older adults as a transformative mechanism. Ageing & Society, 25, 4, 567–84.
Okun, M. A., Barr, A. and Herzog, A. R. 1998. Motivation to volunteer by older adults: a test of competing measurement models. Psychology and Aging, 13, 4, 608–21.
Omoto, A. M. and Snyder, M. 2002. Considerations of community: the context and process of volunteerism. American Behavioral Scientist, 45, 5, 846–67.
Omoto, A. M., Snyder, M. and Martino, S. C. 2000. Volunteerism and the life course: investigating age-related agendas for action. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 22, 3, 181–97.
Penner, L. A. and Finkelstein, M. A. 1998. Dispositional and structural determinants of volunteerism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 2, 525–37.
Pitts, R. E. and Skelly, G. U. 1984. Economic self-interest and other motivational factors underlying charitable giving. Journal of Behavioral Economics, 13, 2, 93–139.
Regnerus, M. D., Smith, C. and Sikkink, D. 1998. Who gives to the poor? The influence of religious tradition and political location on the personal generosity of Americans toward the poor. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 37, 3, 481–93.
Rooney, P., Brown, M. S. and Wu, K. 2008. Donor Stability: Findings from the Center on Philanthropy Panel Study. Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University, Indianapolis. Available online at www.philanthropy.iupui.edu [Accessed 22 October 2009].
Rossi, A. S. 2001. Caring and Doing for Others. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Rossi, A. S. 2004. Social responsibility to family and community. In Brim, O. G., Ryff, C. D. and Kessler, R. C. (eds), How Healthy Are We? A National Study of Well-being at Midlife. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 550–85.
Simpson, B., Irwin, K. and Lawrence, P. 2006. Does a ‘norm of self-interest’ discourage prosocial behavior? Rationality and quid pro quo in charitable giving. Social Psychology Quarterly, 69, 3, 296306.
Steinberg, R. and Wilhelm, M. O. 2003. Giving: The Next Generation. Parental Effects on Donations. Working Paper 21, Centre of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.
United States Bureau of the Census 2007. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States. Current Population Report P60-233, United States Bureau of the Census, Department of Commerce, Washington DC, 60–233. Available online at http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf [Accessed 22 October 2009].
Van Willigen, M. 2000. Differential benefits of volunteering across the life course. Journal of Gerontology, 55B, 5, S308–18.
Warburton, J. and McDonald, C. 2009. The challenges of the new institutional environment: an Australian case study of older volunteers in the contemporary non-profit sector. Ageing & Society, 29, 6, 821–38.
Wilhelm, M., Brown, E., Rooney, P. and Steinberg, R. 2004. The Intergenerational Transmission of Generosity. Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University, Indianapolis. Available online at www.philanthropy.iupui.edu [Accessed 22 October 2009].
Wilhelm, M. O., Rooney, P. M. and Tempel, E. R. 2007. Changes in religious giving reflect changes in involvement: age and cohort effects in religious giving, secular giving, and attendance. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 46, 2, 217–32.
Wilson, J. 2000. Volunteering. Annual Review of Sociology, 26, 1, 215–40.
Wilson, J. and Janoski, T. 1995. The contribution of religion to volunteer work. Sociology of Religion, 56, 2, 137–52.
Wilson, J. and Musick, M. 1997 a. Work and volunteering: the long arm of the job. Social Forces, 76, 1, 251–72.
Wilson, J. and Musick, M. 1997 b. Who cares? Toward an integrated theory of volunteer work. American Sociological Review, 62, 5, 694713.
Wilson, J. and Musick, M. 1999. Attachment to volunteering. Sociological Forum, 14, 3, 243–72.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed