Está en la página 1de 13

Motivacin de Voluntarios en Amrica Latina: Un Ensayo de Revisin

A pesar de estar bajo las dictaduras militares y las formas verticales tradicionales de la poltica
social, como la concentracin de la propiedad de la tierra y el sistema de patrocinio en el actual
sistema poltico durante los aos 1960, 1970 y 1980 , Amrica Latina cuenta con diversos
ejemplos de participacin ciudadana , como los trabajadores voluntarios. En este ensayo se
presentan investigaciones sobre el voluntariado de los pases de Amrica Latina. Preguntas como
las relaciones interpersonales influyen en la decisin de ser voluntario, cmo las relaciones
interpersonales y las redes sociales influyen en el voluntariado, cmo influyen los
acontecimientos de vida individuales y familiares en la decisin de ser voluntario y cules son los
vacos en la actual literatura sobre los micro- contextos que necesitan una mayor investigacin, se
discuten aqu. Para las organizaciones sin fines de lucro , este estudio puede ayudar a reflejar en
el campo de las organizaciones sociales , especficamente en relacin con la gestin del
voluntariado , ya que estas instituciones han experimentado dificultades , entre otras, en la
contratacin y retencin de sus voluntarios.
Palabas-clave: Voluntariado; Tercer Sector; Gestin de las ONG; Amrica Latina; Ensayo; Microcontextos

Volunteer Motivation in Latin America: A Review Essay

Despite being under military dictatorships and traditional vertical forms of social policy, such as
the concentration of land ownership and the patronage system in the current political system
during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Latin America has diverse examples of civil participation,
like volunteers. In this essay are presented researches about volunteering from countries of Latin
America. Questions like how do interpersonal relationships influence the decision to volunteer,
what empirical evidence details how interpersonal relationships and social networks influence
volunteering, how do individual and family life events influence the decision to volunteer and
time volunteered and what are the gaps in the current Latin American literature on micro-contexts
that need further research are discussed here. For nonprofit organizations, this study can help
reflect on the field of social organizations, specifically in relation to volunteer management,
because, these institutions have experienced difficulties, among others, in recruiting and retaining
their volunteers.
Key words: Volunteering; Non-Profit Sector; NGOs Management; Latin America; Essay; Microcontexts

During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, Latin America was under military dictatorships and
traditional vertical forms of social policy, such as the concentration of land ownership and the
patronage system in the current political system. This context discouraged any form of civic
participation. The return of democracy in the late 1980s and early 1990s may have caused the
removal of some barriers to this participation. The welfare state crisis has also contributed to the
phenomenon. The mobilization of human resources seems to be compensating for the
shortcomings of the state and contributing to the consolidation of the nascent democracy in Latin
America. A context like this may allow for higher levels of citizen participation in public policies
as well as the creation of NGOs in communities where the state has left unfilled spaces. For all
the aspects mentioned, volunteering plays an important role in Latin America.
Although there is evidence, in the pre-Columbian period, of what nowadays is named as
solidarity or prosocial behavior (Alcal, 2002), it was only in the 19th century that the
phenomenon was given prominence. At that time the Catholic Church stimulated most of the
actions of social character, based mainly on the model of charity care (hospitals, orphanages,
asylums, etc.). At the same time incipient actions emerged from civil society in areas such as
education and health (Thompson y Toro, 2000). What these activities have in common is the fact
that, in order to operate, they heavily depend on volunteers. In such a context the motivations of
these individuals deserve special attention. Understanding what motivates these people to offer
their knowledge and time is important so as to provide institutions with information that may
reduce costs to recruit, select, and especially keep these individuals in the activity.
There are several studies that sought to understand the phenomena of motivation in
volunteer work in Latin America. For nonprofit organizations, this study can help reflect on the
field of social organizations, specifically in relation to volunteer management, because, these

institutions have experienced difficulties, among others, in recruiting and retaining their
volunteers. They are discussed as follows.
In Brazil, the "Volunteer Brazil Project" carried out a national survey in 2011 in order to
identify the profile of Brazilian volunteers. One thousand, five hundred and fifty (1,550) people
were interviewed. They were aged 16 or over and they belonged to all social classes in the
following cities: Brasilia, Manaus, Curitiba, Salvador, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro and
Sao Paulo all of them with more than one million inhabitants. It was found that 25% of the
population has done or is doing some volunteer work. The sample demonstrated that 60% of the
individuals belong to the AB social class, 67% of them have a paid job, 38% have completed high
school or started a course at university or college and approximately 50% of them perform the
activity in a religious institution. It also demonstrated a balance between the genders. As for the
frequency aspect, the sample showed that the volunteers dedicate approximately 4.6 hours per
month to the activity, upon which they have been engaged for approximately 5 years. The reasons
that led them to volunteer are mainly altruistic: 67% hoped to help others, whereas 32% wished
to improve the world.
Also in Brazil, ______ et al (2011) outlined the Brazilian studies papers, theses and
dissertations available on the internet about "volunteering", "volunteer work" and "third sector"
and found 567 studies in the first sample. The definitive sample considered studies dealing with
volunteers motivation. Twenty (20) studies were found and they all used a qualitative method
for data collection. The results indicated different types of motivations: from altruistic reasons,
such as helping others, to selfish ones, for example, to improve the resume". In addition, other
types of motivation referring to social justice, learning and social aspects were also observed in
the studies. The altruistic motivations, however, were the most frequent ones in the studies.

Another study in Brazil, a quantitative research conducted by ______ et al (2010),













(, an institution which develops actions on health, nutrition, education,

citizenship and spirituality in poor communities throughout the country. Three hundred and
twenty four (324) volunteers from two cities in the northeast of Brazil Joo Pessoa and Natal
were surveyed. The profile of the volunteer is a low class mature woman, aged 40 to 60 years old.
A survey consisting of five groups of motivations for volunteering altruistic, social justice,
affiliation, self-development and egoistical was used. The results showed that the altruistic and
social justice motivations were the ones most mentioned by the volunteers as reasons to join the
activity. The motivations of affiliation, however, did not figure among the reasons for entry in the
activity. Furthermore, when the motivations were correlated with socio-demographic variables, it
was found that, on the one hand, as age increases, the motivation of the volunteer to satisfy a
curiosity to know the activity decreases, and, on the other hand, as the family income increases,
the selfish motivations decrease.
Piccoli (2009), also in a religious institution in Brazil, investigated 12 volunteers. The
data collection instrument was based on the model of voluntarism by Penner (2002).
Ethnography, with the use of daily records, was the data collection method used, as well as indepth interview and participant observation. The results showed that personal beliefs/values and a
pro-social personality stimulated the entry in the activity. The fact that the volunteers or their
relatives had been patients in the organization also influenced positively the entry.
In another recent study in Brazil, Souza, Lucas and Marques (2008) also described the
motivations of volunteers. However, the sample consisted of only 12 students, components of a
Junior Business Enterprise in a federal university in Brazil. The theoretical framework of

motivation was Herzbergs (motivators and hygiene factors). The data collection method was
semi-structured interview and the data analysis used the Grounded Theory. The results indicated
that motivations based on personal interest were the most cited by respondents (learning, personal
growth, status, relationship network, improvement of the resume) at the expense of altruistic
motivations (ideology of the movement, contributing to the development of the State).
In Argentina, Corcoba, Espans and Urrutia (2006) studied elderly volunteers at the
Center for Promotion of the Elderly (CEPRAM) in Crdoba. Most of the volunteers are part of
the program named FAMAC (Training the Elderly from Crdoba). In order to understand the
motivations of these volunteers the VFI by Clary, Snyder and Ridge (1992) was used, adapted to
the Spanish language. The sample consisted of 113 volunteers, who were between 47 and 84
years old (average age = 63 years), 50% of them were married, 24% were widowed and 60%
were graduates. The results indicated that the most important motivations are those related to
altruistic values and the pursuit of knowledge and learning that volunteering allows. On the other
hand, the less important motivation for this sample is the improvement of the resume. As for the
reactions of the family members, in approximately 83% of the cases they were positive and
supported volunteers to maintain the activity. In 9% of the cases, relatives had negative reactions
or were indifferent. Furthermore, approximately 80% of the volunteers decided to do the activity
after an external stimulus, usually an invitation. Volunteers spend between 2 and 5 hours weekly
performing the activities.
In Chile, the Ministry General Secretariat of the Government, in a survey conducted
between 2001 and 2004, sought to know the volunteers who work in the Regional Volunteer
Centers. These centers connect the supply and the demand for volunteers and develop voluntary
actions, based on four regions: Coquimbo (approximately 677,000 inhabitants), Valparaiso

(approximately 1,850,000 inhabitants), Bo Bo (approximately 1.8 million inhabitants) and the

Metropolitan Region of Santiago (approximately 5.6 million inhabitants). For data collection,
focus groups were used. Twenty (20) meetings were held with volunteers who had been engaged
in an activity for at least one year. A survey with 700 volunteers from different areas was also
conducted. The profile of the volunteer is someone young, aged up to 24 years old, who belongs
to class B or C and who volunteers in his/her own community. The most cited motivations were
"helping others" followed by "willingness to participate". For the men, the reasons "meeting
people and making friends" and "because my friends were also involved in the activity" were the
most important. It was also found that approximately 62% of the volunteers operate in more than
one organization, an aggravated situation in the case of men. It was noticed that volunteers who
reside in metropolitan Santiago had smaller activity periods (less than one year in an activity).
Also in Chile, Aravena (2004) described the experience of volunteers of GESTA
Foundation, an institution that aims to promote solidarity and social justice among young people.
Only volunteers with at least one year of activity and with no previous work in the Foundation
were part of the survey. The sample consisted of seven volunteers, six students and a volunteer
who was already in the labor market. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and
analyzed using the Grounded Theory. The most cited motivations were social relations involved
in volunteering, interest in the first experiences of volunteering, as well as their concern with
poverty and social problems. It was observed that when these citizens became volunteers they
started to be admired and gained the trust of their social circle. The study showed that most of the
volunteers made the decision to join the activity via invitations from other people who already
were volunteers.

In another study in Chile, Miranda and Mayne-Nicholls (2009) described characteristics

of different groups of volunteers based on their age: young people, adults and seniors. The
organizations which were surveyed belong to the Volunteer Network of Chile and to the directory
of voluntary organizations of the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB). The sample was
intentional, in terms of sex and type of organization, so as to identify young, adult and elderly
volunteers with some degree of significance recognized in the studied organization. There were
two group interviews, four focus groups and 12 individual interviews.
For the young people, the motivations to perform volunteer work are the search for social
justice, the challenge in performing the task (considering the limitations in doing it) and sharing
similar interests with other young people. For Miranda and Mayne-Nicholls (2009), people with
altruistic motivations tend to stay longer in the activity.
The adults surveyed said that the fully awareness of the project they have taken part
guides them to high levels of commitment. For adult women, to seek for social relationships
outside the family is the main reason, once they feel lonely due to the growth of their children.
Motherhood has also stimulated the search for joining the volunteer activity.
As for the elderly, facing the possibility of widowhood in a positive way, through
activities outside their homes, is a strong stimulus to volunteering.
In one more study in Chile, the Transcend Foundation (2001) conducted a survey with
1,760 people aged over 15, who lived in the metropolitan area of Santiago and in other 12 major
cities, representing approximately 60% of the population. Among the respondents, 10% had
already done a volunteer activity. In this group, nearly 50% were up to 34 years old, 40%
belonged to socio-economic class C2 and 40% performed the activities in churches. When

considering the social classes, in all of them the main activity is to help in churches, excepting the
higher classes (ABC1). In this group, the activities were carried out in their own communities, in
community councils, for example, in the same proportion as the church-related ones. As for the
age groups, the activities related to the church remain the most performed ones, mainly by the
older age groups: from the age of 45, more than half chose to volunteer in these activities. In
terms of the time devoted to the activity, the national average rose from 8.5 hours / month in 2008
to 15.7 hours / month in 2011. It is also in the class C2 the group which spends more time to the
activity: 22 hours monthly.
The same survey asked the reasons for not carrying out the voluntary activity. Forty-four
percent (44%) mentioned "lack of time", while 22% said that they were "not interested in the
activity". When differentiated by gender, 29% of the men versus 16% of the women were not
interested in volunteering.
In Mexico, Butcher (2010) discussed the results of National Solidarity and Volunteer
(ENSAV), a two-year study conducted in Mexico. Among other data, the survey revealed
motivations for volunteer participation and giving. The sample consisted of 1,500 people in the
country's 15 regions. The data collection was qualitative: 66 in-depth interviews. A direction
member, a staff member, a board member and two volunteers in each Civil Society Organization
were surveyed. The reasons why individuals act on behalf of others strongly reflect the values of
the family - which has a background in voluntary - and the willingness to care for others. In some
cases, this type of participation is triggered by specific events such as an illness, the loss of a
loved one or a previous experience of poverty or inequality. Butcher (2010) also found that more
than half of volunteers have family members who participate in such kinds of activity. Most of
the Mexican volunteers (60%) engage a moment every two weeks or once / twice a year. Those

who participate more often (8%) say they perform the activity every day or several times a week.
These people devote 186 days a year for the activity, while the majority, 60%, dedicates 1.7 days
per year in total.
It was also found that approximately 57% of the respondents had the influence of the
family to join the activity and 23% were influenced by the spouse or friends. As for the time
spent in the activity, approximately 24% have been volunteering for over 10 years, 55%, between
1 and 5 years, and 21% had not had a previous experience in volunteering.
In Peru, Tarazona (2004) conducted a qualitative study with 20 volunteers with the
following characteristics: a member of class C / D, aged between 18 and 25 years old, residents
of the metropolitan region of Lima, who were active members of youth organizations for more
than two years and who were leaders in their organizations. Data was collected through
interviews and observation. Reliability and validity of the data collection instrument was
evaluated by judges, achieving good levels of the V coefficient of Aikeen. The most cited
motivations were being part of an organization, promoting social justice in their community,
helping others, and sharing experiences and knowledge.
In another study in Peru, Portocarrero et al (2002) presented the results of two studies: one
refering to the First National Survey of Volunteering and Giving, conducted by the University of
the Pacific Research Centre (CIUP) and the other carried out during the First Festival of
Goodwill. In the first study the survey was conducted in a sample of 1,414 people in 10 cities and
in the capital, aged between 18 and 70 years old, and belonging to all socioeconomic strata of the
population. In the second study, 10 volunteers (5 linked to religious organizations and 5 linked to
other types of organizations) were interviewed in-depthly.

The research results indicated that for young people in higher classes the opportunity to
experience new things, by not having to search for paid work at this stage of life, was their most
important motivation to join the volunteer work. For the elderly people in upper classes, a
balanced financial situation allows them to help others. This fact is reinforced by the decline of
volunteers as they analyze the amount of elderly volunteers in lower social classes. Considering
the sample of 1,414 respondents, altruistic motivations (the desire to help others) and motivations
related to personal interest (feel fulfilled as a person, learn / gain experience; occupy free time on
something worthwhile) were cited as important to engage in volunteering.
Another feature worth mentioning is that, although in a different order, the five main
motivations are the same in all socioeconomic classes: self-realization, learn something or gain
experience, help others, occupy free time into something useful and follow vocation. The authors
emphasize that motivations based on personal interests become more important in higher
socioeconomic classes. As for the time devoted to the activity, approximately 22% have been
doing the activity for over 3 years, while 19% have been doing it for a period of time between 1
and 3 years. In addition to it, approximately 33% volunteer every two weeks, whereas 28% do it
In Uruguay, the Institute for Communication and Development (2009) surveyed 1,407
households randomly selected by strata (sex and age) in cities with more than 5,000 inhabitants.
The technique used to conduct the research was home interview. The results showed that over
43% of the Uruguayan population performs or performed volunteer activities and 20% were
currently performing it at the moment of the data collection. Among the respondents the main
motivations are a calling for help, personal satisfaction, improvement of the community and civic
reasons. When the volunteers were differentiated by age, altruistic motivations were cited as the

most important ones in all the groups. Only the young adults looked for the improvement of their
own community more than the other respondents.
This same survey found that people who have never done volunteer work do not have
volunteers in their family. On the other hand, approximately 50% of the volunteers had family
members who carry out or carried out such an activity. As for the decision to volunteer, 22% said
that they had decided by themselves, 18% had been asked by relatives, and 16%, by friends. In
terms of the time devoted to the activity more than 30% of the elderly spend more than 40 hours
per month volunteering, as well as approximately one fourth of the other age groups.
The volunteers were also questioned about the reasons for leaving the voluntary activity.
Forty seven percent (47%) said that "lack of time" was the main reason, whereas 7% reported a
change of location for leaving the activity.
In Latin America, from the studies discussed here, there seems to be a tendency to
altruistic motivations, which may be linked to the religious institutions the majority of the
respondents have engaged in. Motivations of social justice were also mentioned, especially by the
young, a consequence of the social inequality that still exists in the continent.
Families seem to influence the decision of the respondents to volunteer, either because
they had been served by the institutions where today they are working, or because of family
values, as the fact that some of their relatives had been volunteers in the past. The external
stimuli, commonly the invitations, influenced the decision to volunteer as well. Finally, it was
demonstrated that the lack of time was a reason not to volunteer or to exit the activity.

This brief review has highlighted only the key ideas embedded in the publications of Latin
America countries available in internet, so, these conclusions are limited to this data. However,
these results can show the ways the research agenda.
Cultural differences are not noted on discussed findings. Has volunteering


characteristics on Central America countries? Or are they the same, considering South America
countries? And about social context versus individual context? Has later democratic societies
lower levels of volunteering? Are internet and online social communities influencing the way
people volunteer? Will these protests in Brazil, claiming for transparency of politics and use of
public money, conduct people to a higher levels of civil participation? These elements need to
receive adequate attention on volunteer researches to make sure that volunteerism is in the same
pace of social changes.
ARAVENA, M.( 2004) Significados de la experiencia de voluntariado para las y los voluntarios
de Fundacin Gesta. Memoria para optar al ttulo profesional de Psiclogo. Universidad de Chile.
BETTONI, A.; ANABEL, C. (2001)Voluntariado en Uruguay: perfiles, impacto y desafos.
Buenos Aires.
BUTCHER, J. (2001).Mexican solidarity: findings from a national study. Voluntas: International
Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 21(2), 137-161, doi:10.1007/S11266-0109127-7
______.(2011) Motivao No Trabalho Voluntrio: Delineamento De Estudos No Brasil. In:
Encontro Nacional de Pesquisadores em Gestao Social, Florianopolis.
______. (2010).Comportamento organizacional no trabalho voluntrio: motivos, perfis e
correlaes na Pastoral da Criana. Estudos do CEPE, 31, 97-132.
CERVANTES, D. T. (2004).Acercamiento a la experiencia subjetiva del voluntariado social en
organizaciones juveniles. disPerSin. Revista Electrnica del Instituto Psicologa y Desarrollo.
Ao I, Nmero 3.
CORCOBA, M; URRUTIA, A.; ESPANS G. M. de. (2006).La Experiencia del Voluntariado de
Mayores en CEPRAM. Historia de esperanzas, donaciones y amor.


Voluntariado en Uruguay, ICD, Montevideo.
FUNDAO TRASCENDER.(2011). Estudio Nacional de voluntariado 2011Fundacin Trascender.
Perfil de los Voluntarios y su Accin Social.
MIRANDA, N. S.; MAYNE-NICHOLLS, A. M. (2011).Voluntariado y Edades: Observaciones
desde la juventud, adultez y vejez voluntaria de la ciudad de Santiago Revista MAD,
PICCOLI, P.(2009).Motivao para o trabalho voluntrio contnuo: um estudo etnogrfico no
Ncleo Esprita Nosso Lar.
PORTOCARRERO, F., SANBORN, C., MILLAN, A., LOVEDAY, J. (2002).Voluntarios,
donantes y ciudadanos en el Peru: reexiones a partir de una encuesta. Peru: Universidad de
< >. Consultado el 25 jun. 2013.
SERNA, G.(2007). Voluntarios en Mxico: anlisis de sus trayectorias de vida y razones para su
participacin, en: Cadernos Gestao Social, CIAGS- Universidad Federal de Baha, No. 1, Vol. I.
SOUZA, C. P. da S.; LUCAS, L. de B. L.; MARQUES, A. A. (2008).Fatores Condicionantes da
Motivao de Colaboradores Voluntrios: Estudo de Caso de uma Empresa Jnior da
Universidade Federal de Alagoas.

También podría gustarte