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A theoretic typology of volunteers and volunteering

Somewhat earlier, Stebbins (2007) had developed an SLP-driven, twodimensional, theoretic typology of volunteers and volunteering. His informal observations made over the years suggested that volunteer activities are motivated, in part, by one of six types of interest: interest in activities focused on people, ideas, things, flora, fauna, or the natural environment. Each type offers its volunteers an opportunity to pursue, through an altruistic activity, a particular kind of interest. But volunteers and volunteering cannot be explained by interest alone; other theoretic elements are needed. They come from the SLP, the three forms of which make up the second dimension of our typology. This perspective sets out the motivational and contextual (socio-cultural, historical) foundation of the three.

Popular volunteering

Examples of career, or serious leisure, volunteering with people include ski patrol, search and rescue, emergency medical worker, trained/expe- rienced hospital volunteer, and tutor of second-language learners. The world-wide volunteer organization The Guardian Angels, which safeguards against crime and violence in neighborhoods and schools, and now, cyberspace, further exemplifies this type. Casual volunteering with people is seen in, among other activities, ushering, handing out leaflets, collecting donations (including fund-raising), giving directions, and serving in community welcoming clubs. Popular volunteering in leisure projects is evident in the various people-oriented roles volunteers fill at conferences, arts festivals, children’s festivals, and sporting tournaments.

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