How structural factors promote instrumental motivations within youth volunteering: a qualitative analysis of volunteer brokerage

This article presents a structural, multi-level analysis, showing how volunteering policy, specific volunteering programmes and operational practices in volunteer brokerage organisations promote instrumental motivations in young volunteers. Through evidence drawn from a qualitative
study of youth volunteering brokerage workers and volunteering policy-practitioners, it is shown how young people are increasingly pressured into volunteering, and into seeing volunteering as primarily a route into employment. Volunteer recruiters do not challenge these structural factors;
instead, employability and easing the transition to work and university form a large part of ‘selling’ volunteering, with young people encouraged to trade their time for experience. It is concluded that these findings fit into a wider theoretical narrative about the changing nature of volunteering,
and have the potential to create significant problems for volunteer-involving organisations.

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