Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Katie E Corcoran
Christopher P Scheitle
Rachel E Stein
Spontaneous volunteerism, or emergent volunteer behavior, is characterized by an individual's actions of impulsively offering volunteer services immediately following the occurrence of a natural disaster or community tragedy, such as a flood or terrorist attack. This type of volunteerism differs from traditional volunteer activities that are usually preplanned and not related to a recent tragedy. It is unclear what types of motivations spur individuals to volunteer after a disaster, whether spontaneous volunteers' experiences lead to willingness for continued volunteerism in the future, and whether motivations and experiences differ significantly by context. To study this phenomenon, spontaneous volunteers who offered help during the summer of 2016 southern West Virginia floods were surveyed. Following the Empathy-Altruism model of prosocial behavior, the impact of spontaneous volunteers' types of motivations and experiences during volunteering on their willingness to volunteer in the future was assessed. Results showed that differing motivation types can be influential on spontaneous disaster volunteers' willingness for future volunteerism, especially when their experiences while volunteering are taken into account. Few results align with previous research while others are contradictory, providing a rationale for continued research on the uniqueness of spontaneous volunteerism.
Hudnall, Erin, "Creating the Need to Serve: How West Virginia Spontaneous Disaster Relief Volunteers' Motivations and Experiences Influence their Willingness for Continued Volunteerism*" (2018). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 5833.