Effects of International Volunteering and Service: Individual and Institutional Predictors

  • Margaret S. SherradenEmail author
  • Benjamin Lough
  • Amanda Moore McBride
Original Paper


Despite unprecedented recent expansion of international volunteering and service (IVS), there has been relatively little research on impacts. This paper proposes a conceptual model for impact research based on existing research evidence published in English. The model suggests that outcomes for host communities, volunteers, and sending communities vary depending on individual and institutional attributes and capacity. How institutions structure and leverage individual capacity influences who participates and how they serve, and shapes the impact of volunteer action. The conceptual model provides directions for future research.


International volunteering Civic service Research Impacts 


En dépit de l’expansion sans précédent du VI (Volontariat international), il y a eu relativement peu de recherches sur ses impacts. Cet article propose un modèle conceptuel sur la recherche d’impact se basant sur la preuve de recherches existantes publiées en anglais. Le modèle suggère que les résultats pour les communautés hôtes, les volontaires et les communautés envoyées varient selon les attributs et la capacité des individus et des institutions. La façon dont la structure des institutions et les influences sur la capacité des individus, influence ceux qui participent et la façon dont ils servent et donnent forme à l’impact de l’action volontaire. Le modèle conceptuel fournit des perspectives pour de futures recherches.


Trotz der jüngsten beispiellosen Ausweitung von internationalem freiwilligem Dienst (IVS) gibt es relativ wenig Forschung über dessen Auswirkung. Dieser Artikel stellt ein Denkmodell für die Erforschung von Auswirkungen basierend auf bestehender, in Englisch publizierter Forschungsevidenz vor. Das Modell legt nahe, dass Folgen für Aufnahmegemeinschaften, Freiwillige und Sendegemeinschaften von individuellen und institutionellen Attributen und Leistungsvermögen abhängen. Wie Institutionen individuelles Leistungsvermögen strukturieren und vorteilhaft einsetzen, beeinflusst wer teilnimmt, wie der Dienst abgeleistet wird und die Auswirkung der Freiwilligenarbeit. Das Denkmodell gibt Anleitung für zukünftige Forschung.


A pesar de la reciente proliferación de los servicios voluntarios internacionales, las investigaciones realizadas para estudiar sus repercusiones son relativamente pocas. Este trabajo propone un modelo conceptual para investigar las repercusiones en función de las pruebas existentes publicadas en lengua inglesa. El modelo sugiere que los resultados de las comunidades de acogida, los voluntarios y las comunidades de emigración varían dependiendo de las características y las capacidades, tanto de las personas como de las instituciones. La forma en que las instituciones estructuran y aprovechan la capacidad de las personas determina quién participa y cómo prestan sus servicios, lo que confirma las repercusiones de la acción voluntaria. El modelo conceptual ofrece asimismo pautas para futuras investigaciones.






على الرغم من أن التوسع الذي حدث مؤخرا في العمل التطوعي والخدمة الدولية (IVS) لم يسبق له مثيل ، كان هناك قدر ضئيل نسبيا من البحث عن التأثير. هذا البحث يقترح وضع نموذج تصوري للبحث في التأثير القائم على أساس أدله البحوث التي نشرت باللغة الإنجليزية. النموذج يوحي بأن النتائج للمجتمعات المحلية المضيفه ، والمتطوعين ، و المجتمعات التبشيرية تختلف باختلاف الأفراد والمؤسسات والصفات والقدرات. كيف أن هيكل المؤسسات وفعالية القدرات الفرديه تؤثر على المشتركين وكيف يعملون لديها ، وتشكل أثر العمل التطوعي. النموذج التصوري يعطي إتجاهات للبحوث في المستقبل.



We are grateful to The Ford Foundation for support and to three anonymous reviewers for Voluntas for helpful insights and suggestions. Our appreciation also to Peter Devereux, Lissa Johnson, Joanna Stuart, Kathleen O’Hara, Michael Sherraden, and Lester Salamon, who provided helpful comments and contributed to our thinking in numerous ways.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The John's Hopkins University 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret S. Sherraden
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Benjamin Lough
    • 2
  • Amanda Moore McBride
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social WorkUniversity of Missouri-St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.George Warren Brown School of Social Work, and Center for Social DevelopmentWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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