Carlton Yoshioka

Research Friday: Arizona’s seniors: The latest profile of volunteering behavior

posted by
 Carlton Yoshioka, Ph.D.,
Professor and Director
of Academic Programs
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing series, we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

Recent research findings by Christopher Einolf and Susan Chambre (2011) provided empirical evidence of the strong influence of both formal and informal social networks on volunteering. They found that individuals actively involved in activities with social organizations were more likely to volunteer. Previously, the positive impact of religious congregations and social networks on volunteering was found by Park and Smith (2000). This strong relationship was also evident for informal social networks where friend and neighbor interactions significantly increased the likelihood of volunteering (Bekkers, 2005; Okun, Pugliese, Rook, 2007). What about volunteers in Arizona and particularly senior volunteers? Are Arizona seniors influenced by both formal and informal social networks to volunteer? Do socioeconomic characteristics, health, and social isolation of an aging individual limit the likelihood of volunteering?

These challenging questions were addressed by the 2010 Arizona Health Survey sponsored by the St. Luke’s Health Initiative. Over 8,000 adults were surveyed about their physical, mental and social well-being. Fortunately, over 2,000 adults over 65 years old responded to the survey. Dr. Lili Wang and I analyzed the sample of seniors to determine the impact of social context on senior volunteers in Arizona. The average age of the sample was 75 years old and 64.5% of the sample was female. 24% of households had an annual income between $30,000 and $49,999. About one fourth of the seniors (24%) had a high school diploma or equivalent, followed by a four-year college degree (15%). Most of the seniors (86%) did not work. Close to half of the respondents were married (48%) and only a fraction of them (2.4%) had grandchild under 18 living in house.

The results of this survey support the positive influence of social context on Arizona’s senior volunteers. The findings show that seniors are more likely to volunteer when they have more friends to rely on spend time with others more often, help friends and neighbors, and participate in social clubs or religious and other organizations. In terms of socioeconomic status, the results show that higher levels of education and self reported positive health significantly increased seniors’ chance of formal volunteering; however, age, gender, income level, employment status, and having children had no effect.

Research Friday: Paying Volunteers A Stipend: Does It Work?

posted by
 Carlton Yoshioka, Ph.D.,
Professor and Director
of Academic Programs
ASU Lodestar Center

 

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing series, we invite a nonprofit scholar, student, or professional to highlight current research reports or studies and discuss how they can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

Most researchers agree that low-income earners volunteer less (Wilson, 2012) and Pho (2008) extended this finding to include medium-wage earners. A related research question is the impact or positive incentive of volunteer stipends among low-wage earners (McBride, Gonzales, Morrow-Howell, & McCrary, 2011). Does the incentive of monetary support influence how people allocate their altruistic desires to help others? Is there a positive result for organizations that provide stipends for volunteers?

In March of this year, The Virginia G. Piper Trust funded an expansion of the Encore Fellowships program that originated in California. Experience Matters is a nonprofit organization that capitalizes on the time and talent of older adults (age 50+), who are seeking paid or unpaid positions that apply their skills to social purposes. According to Nora Hannah, CEO of Experience Matters, the Piper Trust support will allow Experience Matters to place adult volunteers with nonprofit organizations that are typically unable to afford this level of talent.

Research Friday: Expect to Find the Unexpected!

posted by
Carlton Yoshioka, Ph.D.,
Professor and Director
of Academic Programs
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

Researchers at ASU (see Dr. Lili Wang’s post on Hispanic Volunteering), along with colleagues from across the country, are examining the impact of acculturation on the philanthropic behaviors of minorities and immigrants.

Research is limited, due to the differences between data sets, the variety of Asian American ethnic groups, and the lack of adequate conceptual models to examine ethnic sub-groups (Sundeen, Garcia, & Raskoff, 2009).[1] Education, religion, age, and income are some variables that are typically studied in relationship to formal giving and volunteering, informal or personal giving and volunteering, and secular and religious volunteering (Sundeen, Garcia, and Wang, 2007).[2] Acculturation is the process by which individuals change in adapting to demands of a new environment (Berry, 1997),[3] including language, cultural identity and stress, and citizenship and generation status.

Research Friday: Senior Arizona volunteers -- how do they stack up against the rest of the nation?

posted by
Carlton Yoshioka, Ph.D.,
Professor and Director
of Academic Programs
ASU Lodestar Center

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert from our academic faculty to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice. We welcome your comments and feedback.

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Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, and we in the nonprofit sector are thankful for their involvement any time we can get it. But how do we target our recruiting efforts? Which groups of volunteers are the most active? How do we best utilize different types of volunteers? Complex questions, no doubt. Seniors, in particular, are an especially important age demographic to learn more about. What can we expect from senior volunteers in the coming years?