European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 407–416 | Cite as

Dynamics in motivations and reasons to quit in a Care Bank: a qualitative study in Belgium

  • Sarah DuryEmail author
Original Investigation


The aim of this study was to contribute to the understanding of why volunteers in a time bank known as “NeighborhoodPension,” which involves community-based care, are motivated to start, continue, and quit volunteering. The time bank started in 2013 and is the first time bank in Brussels, Belgium. A planned prospective longitudinal study involving qualitative focus group interviews was used to study a group of volunteers at four time points over 1 year. There were two main themes, the first of which pertains to older adults’ motives for volunteering with the time bank. These motives are largely attributable to the volunteer organization’s contextual factors. The second theme focuses on reasons for quitting volunteering. Factors for retaining volunteers relate strongly to the purpose of the volunteer organization. Co-production (i.e., engaging the volunteers in the design of the project) and having an attention officer (i.e., a confidant who listens to the volunteers’ worries) are examples of retention strategies. Moreover, earning time credits did not appear to be a motive for continued volunteering. These theoretical perspectives could help to improve organizational support of volunteers and increase the participation of older citizens in community-based volunteering. The complexity associated with retaining volunteers stems from the fact that although initial motives for volunteering are generally clearly defined, other contextual factors (such as relationships with other volunteers and organizational structure) change the initial motives and can result in volunteer turnover.


Retention of volunteers Reasons to quit Volunteer turnover Aging in place Community care 



I would like to thank the older volunteers for their enthusiasm and dedication to the project and to keep attending the focus groups with commitment. I also thank the two professionals of the project to do everything in their power to include the volunteers in the project and having processed constructively all information and feedback from the volunteers in the project. Finally, I would like to thank my colleagues, prof. dr. Liesbeth De Donder and dr. Dorien Brosens, for their objective analysis of the focus groups.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)BrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Adult Educational Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Educational SciencesVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium

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