Date of Award

5-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Recreation

First Advisor

Anderson B. Young, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon L. Todd, Ph.D.

Abstract

Conservation leisure service organizations are relying more heavily on volunteers to sustain their services and protect natural resources (Strigas, 2006). However, research focusing on volunteer vacationers, those who spend money to volunteer, is still in its infancy. Drawing on functional theorizing (Bruyer & Rappe, 2007; Clary, Snyder, Ridge, Copeland, Stukas, Haugen, & Miene, 1998; Houle, Sagarin, & Kaplan, 2005; Katz, 1960; Smith, Bruner, & White, 1956), this study explored volunteer vacationers’ motivations and the relationships between motivations to volunteer, satisfaction with the volunteer vacation experience, and inclinations to volunteer in the future (in both local and nonlocal settings). The study participants were 130 episodic volunteer vacationers from the American Hiking Society over the summer and fall of 2012. The results of the study revealed that all motivations items in the “user,” “reflection/enhancement,” “helping the environment,” and “learning” categories (factors) were significantly related to inclination to volunteer in the future while “chance to be outdoors” in the “user” category was the highest rated point of satisfaction among volunteers. Additionally, volunteers’ satisfaction with “feeling useful,” a factor in the “reflection/enhancement” category, was the strongest predictor of intention to volunteer over the long-term in both local and nonlocal settings. Although only nine of 24 motivations had significant (though only fair or weak) relationships with overall satisfaction, when those same 24 motivations were correlated with participants’ desire to volunteer in their hometown, 19 relationships were significant. The results of the study suggest that conservation programs that consider motivations of their constituents, as well as their level of satisfaction with their experience, can enhance volunteer recruitment strategies and effectively retain volunteer commitments.

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