Recruitment and retention of university student volunteers for South African community projects

Joseph, Bianca Monique (2016-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : This study suggests that student volunteerism at South African (SA) universities is facilitated by a social justice orientation that inculcates active citizenship, parallel to developing graduate attributes that promote employability. Six community projects across three Western Cape universities were examined as case studies in order to investigate student motives for volunteering, along with the organisational and institutional structures supporting student volunteerism within the South African context. A mixed methodology was employed with the main focus on qualitative methods. Quantitative data were collected with Likert scale items exploring the functional approach to volunteer motives among active volunteers (N = 70). Service learning students were viewed as student volunteers. However, the distinction between service learning and volunteer processes is highlighted. Project leaders (n = 14) were interviewed to gain insight into organisational structures and management styles. In some instances, focus groups (n = 3) were held with the leadership committee. Furthermore, key role players (n = 4) within each participating university were interviewed to investigate the university structures that facilitate student volunteerism. Data were triangulated. This study found that students’ reasons for volunteering were centred on the value function, citizenship and understanding function. In particular, students volunteer because they care about others, or they have a keen interest in the cause driven by the organisation (value function). Students also aim to help address social inequalities and express a sense of social responsibility (citizenship). Also, they volunteer because they want to learn about others and add depth and perspective to their knowledge (understanding function). The findings also suggest that both institutional and organisational support are needed to sustain volunteer involvement. Support is both structural and developmental as it aims to mitigate constraints to sustained participation. A framework for effective recruitment and retention of university student volunteers was compiled. The MECS 4-cornerstone model is my contribution to literature and practice. This study was conducted in response to the minimal research performed on the topic of recruitment and retention of student volunteers in South Africa. Also, the South African volunteer context is weighed down, among others, by challenges such as unemployment and poverty. The lack of funding within the non-governmental organisation (NGO) sector results in a need for more volunteers and the successful execution of programmes. Universities, in turn, have been noted as rich sources from which to recruit potential volunteers. However, research has indicated that youth volunteerism is declining. These factors also contribute to the significance of this research study.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie studie dui daarop dat studente-vrywilligerwerk by Suid-Afrikaanse (SA) universiteite gefasiliteer word deur 'n oriëntasie van sosiale geregtigheid wat aktiewe burgerskap bevorder, parallel aan die ontwikkeling van graduandi-eienskappe wat indiensneembaarheid bevorder. Ses gemeenskapsprojekte, versprei tussen drie Wes-Kaapse universiteite, is as gevallestudies geidentifiseer ten einde die motiverings vir studente-vrywilligewerk, asook die organisatoriese en institusionele strukture wat vrywilligerwerk binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks ondersteun, te ondersoek. 'n Gemengde metodologie is gebruik - oorwegend kwalitatief van aard. Kwantitatiewe data is met die hulp van ‘n Likertskaal vraelys verkry wat die funksionele benadering tot aktiewe vrywilligers (N = 70) se motiverings ondersoek het. Diensleer-studente word vir die doel van hierdie studie ook as studente-vrywilligers beskou, alhoewel die onderskeid tussen diensleer en vrywilliger prosesse binne die studie uitgelig word. Onderhoude is ook gevoer met projekleiers (n = 14) om insig te verkry oor organisatoriese strukture en bestuurstyle. In sommige gevalle is fokusgroepe (n = 3) ook met die leierskapskomitee gehou. Onderhoude is ook met rolspelers (n = 4) binne elk van die deelnemende universiteite gevoer om ondersoek in te stel na die universiteitstrukture wat studentevrywilligerwerk ondersteun. Kruisvalidasie was uitgevoer. Hierdie studie het bevind dat studente se motiverings gebaseer is op die waarde funksie, burgerskap en die begrip funksie. Studente doen dus vrywilligewerk omdat hulle omgee vir ander, of belangstel in die projek wat deur die organisasie aangebied word (waarde funksie). Studente poog ook om sosiale ongelykhede aan te spreek en demonstreer sosiale verantwoordelikheid (burgerskap). Verder doen studente ook vrywilligerwerk omdat hulle graag meer oor ander wil leer en sodoende diepte en perspektief by hul bestaande kennis wil voeg (begrip funksie). Die bevindinge dui ook daarop dat beide institusionele en organisastoriese ondersteuning nodig is om vrywilliger betrokkenheid te bevorder. Ondersteuning is beide struktureel en ontwikkelend en werk mee teen beperkende faktore. 'n Raamwerk vir die doeltreffende werwing en volgehoue deelname van universiteit-studentevrywilligers is saamgestel. Die MECS 4 hoeksteenmodel is my bydrae tot beide literatuur en praktyk. Hierdie studie is uitgevoer in reaksie op die min bestaande navorsing oor die onderwerp van werwing en behoud van studentevrywilligers in Suid-Afrika. Die Suid-Afrikaanse vrywilligerskonteks ervaar uitdagings, soos werkloosheid en armoede, wat onder andere aangespreek word deur nieregeringsorganisasies. Die gebrek aan befondsing binne die sektor veroorsaak ‘n groot aanvraag na vrywilligers. Daar word tans aanspraak gemaak op universiteitstudente om die behoefte aan te spreek: tog, toon navorsing ‘n afname in jeugvrywilligerwerk. Bogenoemde is ook die rede vir die belangrikheid van hierdie studie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100104
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