To Pay or Not To Pay: Motivations of International Volunteers in Three Work camps in Three Countries

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Paul Ventura


Everyday someone somewhere taps into an incredible global network of volunteer opportunities. These opportunities are organized as international volunteer work camps. Beyond location and the broad range of work carried out by volunteers at each camp, I found it interesting that some camps have participation fees and others do not. I was curious as to whether volunteers at fee camps would have different motivations for participation compared to volunteers at non-fee camps.

With fees as a key factor my goal was to classify and compare the motivations of volunteers in fee camps and non-fee camps. The question I wanted to answer was whether or not people who volunteered in fee camps were motivated to participate for different reasons than those who volunteered in non-fee camps.

My strategy to study this question was to participate as a volunteer or volunteer coordinator in three camps in three different parts of the world and collect relevant data. I used a Likert-scale questionnaire to collect primary data. A secondary source of data was written information/instructions presented to volunteers by each host organization. I also kept a journal to record observations of the characteristics of the two types of work camps and the volunteer participant’s.

What I discovered, was that volunteers in fee-based work camps more frequently confirmed altruism as a principal motivation to participate compared to opportunities for personal or professional growth. Conversely, volunteers in non-fee work camps confirmed opportunities for personal and professional growth as a principal motivation for their participation compared to altruism.


Industrial and Organizational Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Work, Economy and Organizations

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