Assessing Volunteer Motives: A Comparison of an Open-ended Probe and Likert Rating Scales

Lora D. Allison, Morris A. Okun, Kathy S. Dutridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to compare the motives of volunteers (career, esteem, protective, social, understanding, and value) as assessed by an open-ended probe and the Volunteer Functions Inventory (VFI) which employs a Likert rating scale. One-hundred-and-twenty-nine individuals, who volunteered for an organization that focuses on episodic volunteering in the community, completed both measures of volunteer motives and reported their frequency of volunteering for the organization. The Spearman rank correlation between the rankings of the six volunteer motives in the two distributions was 0.71. The maximum variance shared between the same motive as assessed by the two methods was 0.14. Frequency of volunteering for the organization was predicted by the value (positive predictor) and social (negative predictor) VFI scale scores. A post hoc analysis of the data from the open-ended probe revealed three additional motives for volunteering - enjoyment, religiosity, and team building.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2002


  • Accounts
  • Assessment
  • Functional approach
  • Motives
  • Volunteering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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